How Students' Critical Engagement with Text and Self-Perceptions as Literate Learners Can Explain Literacy Performance and Inform Classroom Practice

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Hasty, Michelle Medlin
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Middle Tennessee State University
In this study, the author analyzed the self-perceptions of middle grade students as literate learners and the relationship between critical engagement with text and writing performance through narrative inquiry, grounded theory, constant comparative method and Discourse analysis. Multiple data sources converged to show how these eighth graders viewed their own past and present literacy experiences, their in and out of school literacy practices, their strengths and areas for growth in reading and writing skills, and their understandings of the elements or skills necessary for good reading and writing including Literate Learner profiles, paired student interviews, focus group follow-up questions, and transcribed classroom conversations. The author employed sociocultural and critical literacy theories and engagement and motivation research to develop from the findings a model of how students' beliefs about themselves as literate learners as well as their insights about what counts as literacy practices could connect with classroom reading and writing events. Data patterns revealed that students' self-perceptions were heavily influenced by external measures, and that students universally wished to improve literacy skills, but lack of clarity existed about how to achieve these goals. The author contended that consideration of students' self-perceptions and reading interests, connections between in and out of school literacy practices, and collaboration between students and teachers to clarify steps necessary for progress are significant implications for classroom literacy instruction.
Adolescent literacy, Affective neuroscience, Critical literacy, Response to text, Sociocultural, Writing