Title page for ETD etd-08092011-171552

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Dredger, Mary Kathleen
Author's Email Address kdredger@vt.edu
URN etd-08092011-171552
Title A Savory Stew: Text Differentiation in a Middle School Immigration Unit
Degree PhD
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kajder, Sara B. Committee Co-Chair
Kelly, Patricia Proudfoot Committee Co-Chair
HIcks, David Committee Member
Moorefield-Lang, Heather Committee Member
  • Lexiles
  • English Education
  • Middle School
  • Social Studies Education
  • text complexity
  • secondary education
  • text-reader matching
  • content area literacy
  • differentiated texts
  • case study
  • adolescent literacy
Date of Defense 2011-08-03
Availability unrestricted
The goal of this case study of a mindful literacy teacher in a middle school social studies class was to describe the nature of one teacher’s differentiated text choices in one seven week unit. The participant was nominated by an administrator, a district supervisor, a university professor, and the researcher based on characteristics of mindful literacy instruction. Classroom observations and teacher interviews described four differentiated text events: an historical fiction novel unit; primary source oral histories; expository non-fiction articles; and picture books, magazines, and an anthology set. Interview transcripts were coded using constant comparative analysis and revealed the teacher’s belief in stories, student choice, her resistance to standardized testing, and her own teaching confidence and activist spirit. The discussion addresses the teacher’s effectiveness in the areas of collaboration with students, the assignment of varied and plentiful texts, the expectation of high achievement for herself and students; and her effective management of the differentiated texts in the classroom. The researcher also concluded that this teacher did not have the expertise to diagnose or remediate basic reading deficits but her disposition in seeing herself as a reading teacher, challenging mandated curricula, and working to offer appropriate choices for all of her students supported her decision to offer differentiated text choices.
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