Reading Experience: A Phenomenological Inquiry into Reading as Not a Reader Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Sinclair, Meredith Nicole
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • For many high school students, being not a reader means lack of engagement in school-based literacy activities, including reading and writing, and a subsequent lack of academic success. Most importantly, the not a reader identity often comes with a particular understanding of reading, one that is limited to information extraction from texts and creates an artificial divide between the activity of reading in classrooms and the activity of lived experience in the world. Using hermeneutic phenomenology as a frame of inquiry, this dissertation attempts to understand reading as not a reader, through the lived experience of three African-American high-school age leavers in a community literacy program and the teacher/researcher. It explores the gap between what the students thought doing narrative meant, the way reading and writing were talked about in schools, and the way they actually did narrative, their use of language both as writers/speakers and listeners/readers. As part of this exploration, this study questions the boundaries of reading as defined by common classroom activities and curriculum documents, including the Common Core State Standards, and the way these boundaries work to form the not a reader identity. Using the idea that dialogue is a fundamental human activity underlying our identity formation and our interactions with one another, this work explores possibilities for engaging not a reader students in reading as dialogue that bridge the divide between classroom reading and the students' lived experience. Drawing on Reader Response Theory, it offers an understanding of the activity of reading that suggests students must read texts in the world in order to engage in dialogue with them; that is, the texts themselves and the conversations around those texts must be rooted in the lived experience of the reader. Finally, this work seeks to offer insight into the type of curriculum that could allow for agency in reading, a curriculum that allows space for students to talk back to texts and produce meaning through dialogue with texts.
Date of publication
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  • In Copyright
  • Grumet, Madeleine
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013

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