Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


"Reading is a foundational skill for learning, personal growth, and enjoyment. The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life" (AASL, 2007, p. 1). As indicated in this AASL statement, it is the job of the teacher and teacher librarian to encourage independent reading among their students. However, there is often a lack of knowledge surrounding the level of success in the approaches middle school students take when selecting independent reading books of interest to them. This inhibits teachers and teacher librarians from collaboratively providing the necessary level of guidance to keep students engaged in reading. The purpose of this study was to explore the approaches middle school students take when selecting independent reading books, as well as the level of success of those approaches, and to provide suggestions for teachers and teacher librarians in advising students. This study showed that students relied heavily on familiarity when selecting independent reading material. Three of the top four approaches reported by students (favorite genre, topic, or subject; familiar author or series; and discussion, conversation, or recommendation) all rely on the students having some form of prior knowledge about the book they are choosing. These three were also the approaches that had the highest success rate.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of School Library Studies

First Advisor

Karla Krueger, First Reader

Second Advisor

Joan Bessman Taylor


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Date Original


Object Description

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