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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation into the effectiveness of a modified middle school reading program at the high school level Peplow, Karen Winifred

Abstract

The reading of literature is rarely practiced in our high schools today yet many studies have shown that voracious, free, voluntary reading improves students' grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and composition. The demands of our present day economy require higher literacy rates of our citizens if businesses are to compete successfully in the international marketplace. However, the majority of high school students do not or cannot make time to read for pleasure. The purpose of this study is to ascertain if English 9 students and transitional English students would welcome a reading program as part of their course work. I selected School District # 43 (Coquitlam's) A Literature Based Individualized Reading Program because it has been used successfully in the district's elementary and middle schools and because it allows teacher-librarians to actively promote the reading of literature, beyond their more traditional role of book displays and booktalks. A questionnaire was administered by the teacher-librarian/researcher to three classes at the end of the six week program asking students to give their opinions on those aspects they liked and disliked about the program. Two teachers who also took part give their opinions as well. Major findings indicate that a reading program is acceptable to most students i f some alterations are made to the design of the unit. English 9 students educated in Canadian classrooms prefer more choice in reading materials and fewer written assignments that interfere with their readings. Entry level English as a Second Language, or transitional English students, need more support than our modified program gave them. The more advanced transitional English (TRAN) students handled the demands of the program quite well. A reading unit at the secondary level, then, must be simplified and tailored to the needs of specific groups before it is accepted by a majority of teachers and their students.

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