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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Maria José Botelho

Second Advisor

Theresa Austin

Third Advisor

David Lenson

Fourth Advisor

Janine Solberg

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education

Abstract

Integration of digital technologies into the English classroom requires that we rethink pedagogical frameworks within which education occurs. This study examines traditional and digital literacy practices in a high school that committed itself to building a strong reading culture among its students as it digitized its library collection. Through a series of in-depth, phenomenologically based interviews and classroom observations, the researcher focused on identifying factors that foster an interest in literary reading as a personally meaningful literacy experience among 21st century adolescents and explored the following questions: What kind of teaching practices promote this interest? What kind of social environments encourage it? Can digital technologies be a bridge to reading engagement among Millennials?

The findings revealed a complex array of interwoven issues – digital technological and sociocultural – that appear to shape young adults’ reading practices in a cultural context that offers an unprecedented variety of options in terms of access to and engagement with literature. Among the topics discussed throughout the dissertation are as follows: an educational paradigm for promoting adolescents’ interest in literary reading; student and teacher agency; technology as the extension of teacher and student; choice-driven English curriculum; reader-response theory in the Digital Age; peer influence; school library services and on-demand eBook acquisitions. While the dissertation offers a detailed account of how digital technologies can play a prominent role in boosting Millennials’ reading engagement, it foregrounds social factors as building blocks of a strong reading culture. These research findings have direct implications for conceptualizing secondary English education in the Digital Age in terms of its content as well as its pedagogical approaches.

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