Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Committee Chair, Dr. Luke Eric Lassiter

Second Advisor

Dr. Kimberly McFall

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Campbell


Reading has been central to my life since my earliest years and has molded me into the adult I have become, for better or worse. My conversations in classrooms, backed by research, has made it plain that today’s students value reading far less than in the past. Books are still read in class, but less out-of-class reading takes place, and a lessening number of students carry a love of reading into adulthood. Student attitude toward reading changes during the middle-school years. As reading increases children’s empathy and critical thinking abilities, this becomes a significant concern. For my research, I chose to take a student-centered approach to this problem and talk to a group of seventh grade students as they begin the school year in which the largest decrease in reading enjoyment occurs. In cooperation with Sissonville Middle School, in particular seventh grade teacher Cassandra Allara, I conducted a six-session book club reading and discussing a novel and probing the students’ reading backgrounds and preferences as well as their general interests and activities. Through this group, the students revealed that while few read in their free time or engage in time-consuming outside activities (their primary thoughts concerning their town involve drug use), all enthusiastically reported playing online video games with other students, both locally and worldwide. This seems to be the one area where all the students encounter story. I close this paper with thoughts as to how this can be used to increase student interest in reading.


Reading (Middle school)

Children -- Books and reading.

Book clubs (Discussion groups)