Booking It: Reading Behavior In The Literate Lives Of Middle Schoolers
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The purpose of this research is to observe the reading behaviors and book choices present among bilingual fifth-graders in a charter school classroom in Austin, Texas. There is an abundance of research on reader identity, as well as bilingual language development, but much remains to be known about how these two entities interact with each other. The goal of this project is to shed light on a new population; namely, bilingual charter school middle schoolers. By examining how bilingual middle schoolers construct their own reading identities and pursue literacies of their choice in the classroom, my goal is to better equip future educators with the skills to make their students successful readers and thinkers. Creating a body of confident and passionate readers that also happen to be bilingual is both important from a personal, as well as political, standpoint. Bilingual students represent a booming population in Texas and across the United States, and yet one that is underrepresented in the field of literacy studies. In order to better serve the needs of these students as educators in Texas, it is important to consider the factors that inform reader behavior. This thesis is broken up into a literature review where I outline the research that has contextualized and guided my project. Next I list my own methodology for this project and detail my classroom observations in order to convey what exactly I saw when I spent time in the classroom. After this, I synthesize my observations into findings. My thesis finishes with these findings and their implications. The results of my study can help to better inform English language instruction practices as it relates to reading and book choice. My research found that reader behavior plays a large role in adolescent identity construction, and in turn, adolescent identity affects reading choice and reading behavior. My data supports the belief that with the proper amount of guidance and positive framing, reading can be an accessible and pleasurable activity for all students.