Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education and Human Development

Committee Member

Dr. Jacquelynn A. Malloy, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Linda B. Gambrell

Committee Member

Dr. Sandra M. Linder

Committee Member

Dr. Jonda C. McNair

Abstract

Reading aloud is a common classroom practice that has many cognitive and affective benefits for students. Early childhood teachers conduct read-aloud events in classrooms across the country on a daily basis. A read-aloud event could not occur without the intentional selection of a book. This exploratory, sequential mixed method study explored the current use and frequency of read-alouds in K-2 classrooms. Specifically, the study sought to better understand teachers' decision-making when choosing books to read aloud. This mixed method study occurred in two sequential phases: a qualitative phase followed by a quantitative phase. During the first phase, fifteen teachers were asked to document their read-aloud events in the classroom and share their rationale for selecting the books they chose to read. These teachers were then interviewed to learn more about their decision-making. Based on the findings of Phase I, a survey was developed and disseminated nationally. A total of 259 K-2 teachers from across the county responded to the survey during Phase II, which further explored the findings of the first phase. The findings reveal that 90% of teachers report reading aloud in K-2 classrooms several times a week or more. While many teachers follow specific reading curricula required by their school or district, 63.9% of them choose additional books to read aloud in the classroom. While teachers predominately expressed that the purpose of reading aloud was to develop a love of reading, their actual selection of the book was determined by how the book would help them teach or develop skills. Teachers shared many different modes for acquiring the books they use in their classrooms with the most common being the use of Scholastic Book Club, with 76.4% noting that they spend their personal money to build their classroom libraries. In selecting books for read-aloud, these teachers often make choices based on their own preferences, or on their assumptions of what their students like to hear. Teachers in this study reported a strong inclination to read fiction texts instead of informational texts, stating that they believed this is what their students wanted to hear. The act of reading aloud has been explored in great detail in the literature. With much support from the literature for reading aloud to students, this study explored the lesser-studied half of the read-aloud equation – the book selection process. This study attempted to better understand the decisions teachers make prior to reading aloud, decisions that greatly impact students' outcomes.

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