Case Study of Urban 4th/5th Grade Teachers and Students Engaged With E-Texts

Case Study of Urban 4th/5th Grade Teachers and Students Engaged With E-Texts

Sarita Belmont (American International College, USA) and Christine Woodcock (American International College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1770-3.ch005

Abstract

This qualitative action research project follows a case study format as a means of studying the effect of explicit student and teacher training in specific reading strategies designed for reading with e-texts. Teachers in the current study were trained in an instructional approach that took full advantage of e-text features, which complemented, and did not supplant, their existing literacy instructional methods. Results indicate that students exhibited an enhanced form of agency, consistently seeing new approaches in taking advantage of the e-text features, and regularly taking steps to independently enhance their literacy learning and share it with peers. Interviews with teachers and students indicated a discernable increase in access when using e-texts. There was an increased desire to use the e-texts in an engaged and sustained manner in the current study. The authors share strategic and tangible instructional approaches. Further, they address particular focus on participants' growing agency, access via critical literacy, and ways to sustain increased motivation and engagement.
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Theoretical Grounding

In this study, teachers were trained in an instructional approach that took full advantage of e-text features, which complemented, and did not supplant, their existing literacy instructional methods. Teachers and researchers then trained students to employ a metacognitive approach, which required them to consciously identify those specific e-text features that would be most helpful for them. This study found e-text usage via 1:1 programs to be a successful way to foster complex comprehension, as well as agency. In order to more fully explore the delicate interplay of metacognition, and its role in fostering comprehension and developing agency, this section will define and clarify each term.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Access: When specifically referring to education, access typically refers to the ways in which educational contexts ensure—or at least strive to ensure—that students have equal and equitable opportunities to take full advantage of their education.

Engagement: Investment, thoughtfulness, and willingness to put in the effort to comprehend complex ideas and master difficult skills.

Critical Literacy: The act of taking apart a text and relating its messages back to one’s own personal life experiences. This act of actively engaging with text that can help students to become more socially aware citizens.

Agency: An enhanced form of autonomy; a person’s realized capacity to act upon his/her world and give personal meaning to it.

Metacognition: Thinking about thinking, or knowing about knowing, often accompanied by an overt awareness of the process.

Comprehension: The ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows.

Recontextualize: To take on, or begin to have, new contexts in learning. This is often motivated by a shared sense of what counts as meaningful responses in students’ lives, including those systematically dismissed in prior contexts.

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