Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Reading (Secondary)--Middle West; Alternative schools--Curricula--Middle West; Literacy programs--Middle West--Psychological aspects; High school attendance--Middle West;


This self-study and action research project examined struggling learners, literate identities and school absenteeism in an alternative high school’s secondary reading workshop class. Research highlights what has prevented struggling learners from becoming successful and confident learners and what educators can provide in terms of instruction and support to help them achieve their potential. One form of instruction is the reading workshop model. Literate identity and its effect on students’ learning and perception of self are highlighted. Finally, the underlying causes and consequences of school absenteeism and its relationship to struggling learners are discussed. The study was conducted using a combination of self-study and action research methodologies. The self-study component examined my teaching practices to examine my teaching responses and practices in light of students’ actions and reactions during instruction. The action research component investigated students’ development of literate identities and how my teaching practices either encouraged or impeded the development of students’ literate identities over the course of nine weeks of instruction. The literate identities of three secondary reading workshop students were studied in conjunction with school absenteeism and other factors. Data were collected through the use of personal journal entries, conversations with the school’s literacy coach, time chart, anecdotal notes, Reader Self-Perception Scale-2, and Writer Self-Perception Scale. Analysis of the self-study data sources revealed that instruction was readjusted to meet students’ needs though instruction was consistently interrupted by outside distractions. My language indicated that I was in control of the secondary reading workshop class and focused on students’ grades and not students’ gains as readers and writers. Analysis of the action research data revealed students’ perceptions of themselves as literate individuals did not improve overall. Students were more cognizant of their reading and writing abilities after being exposed to literacy skills and strategies. This research is important because it has implications for educators of struggling learners with poor literate identities and high rates of absenteeism. Nine weeks of instruction is not enough time to positively impact students’ perceptions of the literate self. External factors must be examined and acknowledged.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Deborah Tidwell

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 284 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download