READING HABITS OF SECONDGRADERSAction research to determine the best method ofencouraging autonomy in second grade studentswhile improving their choice and independentreading of library books.Kristy Dallas Alley901-262-5451U00056393
RESEARCH QUESTIONHow can I encourage autonomywhile guiding and improving thereading habits of my secondgraders?
PROBLEM CONTEXT AND RATIONALE Who am I as a professional? Bachelor of Arts in English from RhodesCollege Completed K-12 Language Arts certificationalongside undergraduate work Fifteen years as a secondary English teacher Currently a first-year librarian in an elementaryschool
PROBLEM CONTEXT AND RATIONALE Current work and action research setting andcontext Urban elementary school 542 students in pre-K-5 Approximately 2/3 African-American, 1/3 Hispanic,fewer than 10 Asian and white children combined 96% of students received free or reduced lunch Many Hispanic students speak no English upon arrival Many Guatemalan families speak dialects that do notexist in written form, have never been literate
SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS84 second-grade students in fourhomerooms Each homeroom visits the libraryonce a week for 30 minutes 59 African-American students 25 Hispanic students 54 males, 30 females
PROBLEM CONTEXT AND RATIONALE How my question relates to my work context This group of students had never been allowed to checkout books, which I did not know at the start of the schoolyear Second grade is plagued with behavior problems thatmake free checkout and reading time difficult There was a pattern of students checking out certainbooks they could not read because of a “cool” factor I wanted to find a method of helping students choosebooks with the maximum autonomy while stillencouraging them to pick books they could really readand enjoy
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE “School library collections are not merelyextensions of classroom book collections orclassroom teaching methods, but rather placeswhere children can explore interests safely andwithout restrictions. A minor’s right to accessresources freely and without restriction has longbeen and continues to be the position of theAmerican Library Association and the AmericanAssociation of School Librarians.” Best practice: Allow students to select books in the leastrestrictive environment possible
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE Lance & Hofschire(2012) From 2005 to 2011,student reading scoreson standardized testsimproved in schoolsthat gained or retaineda school librarian National Assessment ofEducational Progress(2008) States that gainedschool librarians from2004-05 to 2008-09showed greaterincreases in 4th gradereading scores than didstates that lostlibrarians during thistime period
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASESYSTEMS OF DETERMINING READABILITYPROVE INCONSISTENT Lively &Pressey (1923) Created the first widelyused readability scalefor books Basis of systems usedby schools nationwidefrom 1923 through thepresent day Based on the“vocabulary burden” ofa given book Vogel & Washburne(1928) Combined the Presseymethod with analysis ofsentence structure,paragraph structure,weight of book, andtype face to placebooks at a specificreading grade level
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE Lexile Levels Heavily associated with new Common Core Standards Measures “text complexity” based on a combination offactors Lexile bands do not match closely to previousreadability systems and tend to be more demanding Lexile is criticized for its inability to account for content,resulting in placing books like Steinbeck’s Of Mice andMen at a grade 3-5 level
LEARNING THEORIES Amritavalli (2012):Learner autonomy andleaner-chosen texts Guthrie&Alvermann(1999): Engagedreaders reading is best learned when achild shows interest in readingand when every child choosesthe text which is at the rightlevel of challenge and interestfor that child Joint functioning of motivation,conceptual knowledge, andsocial interactions duringliteracy activities
DEVELOPMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF YOURLEARNERSThe students in my sample are in thestage of concrete operations accordingto Piaget’s four stages of learning. Beginning to understand thedifference between genres andtypes of books
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE Key Ideas and Details Ask and answer suchquestions as who, what,where, when, why, and howto demonstrateunderstanding of key detailsin a text Recount stories, includingfables and folktales fromdiverse cultures, anddetermine their centralmessage, lesson, or moral Describe how characters ina story respond to majorevents and challenges.TN Department of EducationReading StandardStudents should be able to
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE Craft and Structure Describe how words and phrases(e.g., regular beats, alliteration,rhymes, repeated lines) supplyrhythm and meaning in a story,poem, or song Describe the overall structure ofa story, including describing howthe beginning introduces thestory and the ending concludesthe action Acknowledge differences in thepoints of view of characters,including by speaking in adifferent voice for each characterwhen reading dialogue aloud.TN Department of EducationReading StandardStudents should be able to
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE Integration of Ideas Use information gained fromthe illustrations and wordsin a print or digital textto demonstrateunderstanding of itscharacters, setting, or plot. Compare and contrast twoor more versions of thesame story (e.g., Cinderellastories) by different authorsor from different cultures.TN Department of EducationReading StandardStudents should be able to
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE Range of Reading andlevel of Text Complexity Read and comprehendliterature, includingstories and poetry, inthe grades 2–3 textcomplexity bandproficiently, withscaffolding as neededat the high end of therangeTN Department of EducationReading StandardStudents should be able to
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE BASE American Association of School Libraries Standardsfor the 21st Century Learner Standard 4: Pursue Personal and Aesthetic Growth Students should read, view, and listen for pleasure andpersonal growth; read widely and fluently to makeconnections with own self, the world, and previousreading seek information for personal learning in a variety offormats and genres; connect ideas to their own interestsand previous knowledge and experience organize personal knowledge in a way that can be calledupon easily
ACTION PLAN Over the course of six weeks, I experimented withthree different methods of conducting checkout withsecond graders in the library, with the goal ofdetermining which method resulted in the highestnumber of students reporting that they read all ormost of their book on their own and that theyenjoyed the book. Methods included Completely unrestricted access to every book in thelibrary with no guidance Unrestricted access to all books, but with strongguidance Narrowly restricted access to books only within Lexilebands recommended for second grade
DATA COLLECTION Research journal to record observations aboutstudent responses and behavior during theresearch Pre and Post survey about general reading habitsand feelings regarding library books Book-specific survey correlated to the method ofcheckout used when the book was obtained ATRIUUM (circulation software system) reportsconfirming specific titles checked out each week
FINDINGS Students expressed a preference for the checkoutmethod that combined book talks and facilitatedaccess with freedom to choose any book. The preferred method resulted in the highestpercentage of students reporting that they read allor most of their book that week. The preferred method was the only one thatresulted in zero “I didn’t read my book” responsesfor the week. Student responses about their favorite type of bookchanged significantly between the pre and postsurveys.
EVIDENCE: PRE SURVEY I like checking out books: I read my whole book bymyself The books that I choose areusually My favorite books are Yes 97.26%, No 2.74% Always: 50.68%; Usually: 36.99%;Sometimes: 9.59%; Never: 2.74% Too hard for me to read by myself:13.89%; Just right: 47.33%; Reallyeasy: 38.89% Picture books with just a few wordson each page: 29.17%; Picturebooks with a lot of words: 31.94%;Chapter books: 38.89%Question Response
EVIDENCE: POST SURVEY I like checking out books: I read my whole book bymyself The books that I choose areusually My favorite books are Yes 98.65%, No 1.35% Always: 61.33%; Usually:14.67%; Sometimes:22.67%Never: 1.33% Too hard for me to read bymyself: 15.07%; Just right:52.05%; Really easy: 32.88% Picture books with just a fewwords on each page: 45.33%;Picture books with a lot of words:32%; Chapter books: 22.67%Question Response
EVIDENCE: PREFERRED CHECKOUT METHODI like it whenWe can check outany book with nosuggestions33.33%We can check outany book but Ms.Alley tells us aboutspecial books47.22%We can onlychoose books fromthe tables 19.44%
EVIDENCE: BOOK SPECIFIC SURVEYSI read all/most of my bookMethod oneunrestricted90.15%Method twounrestricted w/book talks 91.05Method threerestricted to myselections 81.95
EVIDENCE: BOOK SPECIFIC SURVEYSI read my book by myselfMethod one63.89%Method two72.06%Method three76.71%
EVIDENCE: BOOK SPECIFIC SURVEYSI really liked this bookMethod one74.65%Method two79.41%Method three77.46%
CONCLUSIONS This action research was helpful in determining thebest method of checkout for my second graders. Ifeel that this information can also be applied toother grade levels. Participation in the surveys had the unintended butdesirable consequence of giving the students asense of agency in the way they chose and readtheir books. Conducting the book talks for a few books at onceforced me to skip reading whole chapters andinstead focus on just giving a few details to hookstudents’ interest, and the students were better ableto stay focused and attentive.
VARIABLES TO THE STUDY The second week of the study was spring break, soI could not collect any data that week. Suggestions from book talks I gave prior to thisresearch influenced student book choice.
NEXT STEPS Going forward, I plan to spend more time at thebeginning of the school year helping studentsbecome oriented to library procedures andexpectations so that checkout options will not haveto be limited by behavioral problems. I also plan to use book talks systematicallythroughout the year to focus on different genresand formats of books in the library. I am looking forward to sharing the results of myresearch with the community of librarians in myschool district, as well as my principal and theteachers at my school.
FUTURE RESEARCH QUESTIONS How can I better connect with kindergarteners atthe start of the school year to help them transitionboth in and outside the library? How can I better engage my most reluctantreaders, especially in fifth grade?
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REFERENCES Krashen, S. (2001). The lexile framework: Unnecessary andpotentially harmful. California School LibraryJournal, 24(2): 25-26. Lance, K., & Hofschire, L. (2012). Change in schoollibrarian staffing linked with change in CSAP readingperformance, 2005 to 2011. Denver, CO: Colorado SState Library, Library Research Service. Lane, K. & Marks, R. (2008). Is there a positiverelationship between public library services and earlyreading success? School Library Journal. Paris, S. (2002). Center for the Improvement of EarlyReading Achievement: Measuring Childrens ReadingDevelopment Using Leveled Texts. The ReadingTeacher, 56, (2) pp. 168-170. Position Statement on Labeling Books with Reading Levels.2011. American Association of School Libraries.
REFERENCES Ray, M. (2012). A blip in a word cloud--unless weact. Teacher Librarian, 39(4), 56+. Standards for the 21st century learner. (2007).American Library Association Supplemental information for appendix A of thecommon core state standards for Englishlanguage arts and literacy: New research ontext complexity. (2012). Council of ChieState School Officers. Tap the school library to bring a wider world tostudents. (2012, March-April). AmericanTeacher, 96(4), 4.