Title

From Risk to Resilience and beyond – Reaching at-Risk Adolescents through Young Adult Literature

First Presenter's Institution

Tennessee Tech

Second Presenter's Institution

University of South Florida

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Harborside East & West

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

This presentation addresses the Academic Achievement and Leadership strand of the conference. It will highlight an innovative instructional design in a secondary remedial reading course that promoted increased literacy and positive youth development of at-risk adolescent participants using young adult literature.

Brief Program Description

Educators and policy makers who impact the current remedial reading curriculum designs in secondary schools can no longer assume that at-risk students who enter these classrooms do not have the potential for academic success and personal growth. Through a new theoretically framed approach to literacy, these students can be remediated and accelerated at the same time, with lasting impact!

Summary

It has been suggested that adolescents who struggle with literacy hold the potential to be “undereducated, underemployed, and underprepared to participate successfully in the 21st century” (Hock & Deshler, 2003, p. 50), thus making instruction within remedial reading courses essential in preparing at-risk students for all aspects of their lives. Research on the connection between self-efficacy and learning inform us that that it is imperative to address the characteristics and attributes of at-risk adolescent learners that may help or hinder their learning within these contexts if we are to successfully shift their trajectory. Through our current remedial literacy approaches we may be successful at providing remediation, but failing to offer students opportunities to accelerate (increase self-efficacy) holds the potential for these students to remain at-risk.

The use of literature, or books, to facilitate personal and academic development in the classroom is not a new concept. This approach has been coined developmental bibliotherapy (Rubin, 1979). While it has been ascertained that developmental bibliotherapy can be a means of preparing readers for what may happen in their lives through classroom reading of books, it falls short in assisting students in the formation of relationships and leadership skills, and does not foster a connection to one’s community contexts. In other words, it does not encourage growth in all the dimensions of positive youth development (PYD). Furthermore, the suffix “therapy” assumes students have problems or issues that need to be addressed. When books are read through this assumptive lens, a focus on the negative tends to resonate. But what if we read literature that offers students opportunities to shift from literacy events to literacy practices as they explore PYD vicariously through characters similar in age and within familiar contexts a way to promote literacy and their own PYD?

Through bibliontology (the reading of adolescent literature to promote positive youth development and literacy practices in tandem), there is potential for new knowledge dimensions for this demographic of student to emerge. This innovative approach provides them with new ways of learning by critically thinking, reading, writing, responding, viewing, listening, and reflecting. Furthermore, through the reading of adolescent literature as participants, not spectators, students can develop an understanding of the value of literacy and learning in their lives. These claims are supported by findings from our research on the effects of this instructional approach in the remedial classroom.

We will offer participants background research on reaching at-risk adolescents through young adult literature and present to them the new learning framework utilized in a bibliontological approach to literacy design. Additionally, teaching and learning activities within this framework that promoted increased literacy practices and PYD will be spotlighted. We will provide each participant with a packet that details the design and the reading strategies utilized within the design as well as a list of several other young adult novels that can be read through a bibliontological approach.

Evidence

Data were collected both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data were analyzed through paired two-tailed t tests and Bonferroni Correlation. Qualitative data were analyzed typologically and inductively following Hatch’s (2002) methods of analysis. Memoing and member checks were also conducted. The initial protocol findings from this longitudinal, mixed methods study not only revealed an immediate impact on literacy proficiency, literacy practices, and PYD with all at-risk participants (n=24), the one-year follow up protocols found that participants were able to recall concepts (literacy skills and strategies) and ideas (text and activities that promoted PYD) presented within the design that influenced their not only their academics but their well-being. Additionally, the application and integration of these concepts and ideas were sustained and continued to develop over time - which resulted in a shift of trajectories. These once labeled at-risk students were now thriving!

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Paula Greathouse is an assistant professor of English Education at Tennessee Tech University. She was a secondary English and Remedial Reading teacher for 16 years. She is the recipient of the 2012 NCTE Award of Excellence and a member of NCTE's Standing Committee Against Censorship and is currently a state representative for ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE).

Dr. Joan F. Kaywell has served as professor of English education at the University of South Florida (USF) for nearly three decades. She was appointed as director of the SunCoast Area Teacher Training & Education Research (SCATTER), USF’s COEDU’s Honors Program summer 2013. She donates her time extensively to the NCTE and its Florida affiliate (FCTE): She is past president of NCTE’s Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN), has completed two terms serving as ALAN’s membership secretary, and was the recipient of the 2012 Hipple Award for outstanding service. Kaywell is a past president of FCTE twice and served almost two decades on its Board of Directors. In 2012, FCTE created the “Joan F. Kaywell Books Save Lives Award” in her honor. Kaywell is published in several journals; she regularly reviews YA novels, has edited two series of textbooks, and written one trade book. Kaywell fervently believes that teachers and authors are often the unsung heroes of children on the brink of self-destruction. By offering books to children to help them momentarily escape the pain of growing up, teachers offer teenagers a constructive way to survive the crisis, and hope, and know that they are not alone.

Keyword Descriptors

Adolescent Literacy, Positive Youth Development, Young Adult Literature, Remedial Reading

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

3-7-2017 5:30 PM

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Mar 7th, 4:00 PM Mar 7th, 5:30 PM

From Risk to Resilience and beyond – Reaching at-Risk Adolescents through Young Adult Literature

Harborside East & West

Educators and policy makers who impact the current remedial reading curriculum designs in secondary schools can no longer assume that at-risk students who enter these classrooms do not have the potential for academic success and personal growth. Through a new theoretically framed approach to literacy, these students can be remediated and accelerated at the same time, with lasting impact!