Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Languages, Literatures and Cultures

First Advisor

Diane Stephens


Across one school year, in which I coached a fourth-grade teacher, she and I took an inquiry stance investigating how we could come to understand the reading identities kids held relative to Stephens’ (2013) list of characteristics of effective and efficient readers. We also sought to understand how we could help kids develop, sustain, or extend their reading identities and how those identities relate to a generative theory of reading. What impact would our actions have on the kids? What shift, if any, would there be in their ability to comprehend grade level text? There were 11 students in the focal group for whom I had longitudinal data spanning four years. I conducted explanatory case study as a participant-observer using Glaser and Stauss’ (1967) constant comparative method to generate theory. Data collection consisted of text level reading assessments, semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, interest inventories, anecdotal records, running records, expanded field notes, voice recordings of planning and debrief sessions with the teacher, video recordings of reading instruction of whole class, small group, and one-on-one reading conferences, transcriptions of video and voice recordings and standardized test data. Findings showed that these 11 focal participants: made gains toward reading grade level text, took on a more aesthetic stance, increased in reading for pleasure, and chose to read more often. A comparison of third-grade state test scores to fourth-grade scores showed that 8 out of 11 students increased by at least one performance level. vi According to the district data, 73% of the 11 participants ended fourth grade at or above the norm compared to 55% at the beginning of the year. Implications suggest that when teachers engage kids in conversations that consistently revolve around what they did, said, and felt in the midst of reading text, they can better understand their kids’ reading identities and help them refine their understanding of text. Acting and interacting to understand in this way simultaneously sends messages to kids that who they are is equally important as how they are. This contributes to relationship building and seamlessly weaves together teaching and learning about texts and one another.