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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Invitations to literacy : research on literacy interactions between authors and students Ward, David


This study explored the nature of and extent to which Canadian children's authors were inviting school-age students into literacy. The most common forms of interaction between authors and readers were identified. While essentially exploratory in nature this investigation provided some descriptive research to help uncover the parameters of the phenomenon of authors interacting with readers at literacy events. A pilot study was conducted in 2004 to help inform the national survey given in 2007. Seventy-three Canadian children's authors participated in the national survey. The email survey consisted of 15 items and asked a variety of questions ranging from how authors shared their craft with students to how beneficial authors found websites as a means of communicating with their readership. From the 125 pages of transcription of responses the following general themes arose: authors in school environments, correspondence, websites, author roles, authors as literacy resources, engaging in the literacy process, and facilitating events and people. Two main research tools were used in this study. Atlas.ti was used to generate key categories from the authors' comments. SPSS was used to generate frequencies. Findings from this study suggested that authors were highly engaged in inviting students further into literacy by meeting and corresponding with readers. Authors identified elements of fiction, researching, reading, developing style, and generating ideas as central components of their dialogues and mentoring of school-aged children. Authors also said that websites were significant for maintaining contact with their readership. Based on the findings of this research, a theoretical model was developed. The Reader/Author Reciprocal Mediation Model considers how students' literacy can improve when authors and readers of texts interact with a storyworld. This study provides a framework for understanding how authors are impacting student literacy.

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