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Synergy Between Digital and Traditional Literacy Practices: A Framework for Building a Reading Culture in a Secondary School

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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