Why engagement in reading matters to Molly

Reading and Writing Quarterly 04/1996; 12(2):171-194. DOI: 10.1080/1057356960120205


I examined the form and substance of Molly's engagement in reading as she read and responded to familiar and unfamiliar texts, with friends and by herself. I collected data through participant observation in the classroom and the Symbolic Representation Interview (SRI; Edmiston (Enciso) 1990), a research method that asks the reader to create and manipulate paper cutouts representing him‐ or herself and story characters. Data analysis showed that Molly used a wide range of engagement strategies when reading her favorite story among her peers and during the SRI. In contrast, when she read unfamiliar texts on her own or in the context of the SRI, she struggled to create and sustain similar engagement strategies. Despite her flat reading of unfamiliar stories, she was able to recall her engaged reading experiences and recognize herself as a reader within them.

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