Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

L'Allier, Susan K.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Reading; Secondary education


In recent years, American high schools have begun to provide more reading interventions for their students. Relying heavily on skills-based instruction and whole-class, teacher-selected reading, few high school reading programs address the negative reader identities held by many students. The purpose of this study was to examine how the reader identities of adolescent reluctant readers develop when participating in a ninth-grade, free-choice reading intervention class. Multiple case study was the methodology chosen for this study because it allowed for the examination of multiple perspectives and provided the multiple forms of data necessary to investigate the complex problem of reading disengagement among adolescent reluctant readers. Data were collected through participant interviews, researcher observations, interactive book-selection observations, and participant written responses. Data were analyzed by applying a priori codes and through open coding for the emergence of themes. Individual cases were analyzed first, followed by cross-case analysis to determine similarities and differences across cases. Findings from this study suggest that free-choice reading intervention is a viable way to improve the reading attitudes, perceptions, motivation, and stamina of adolescent reluctant readers. Participants reported that autonomous book selections, in-class reading time, ongoing support, and predictable accountability helped to improve their attitudes, motivation, and perceptions of themselves as readers. Participants employed autonomous book selection processes to choose from a variety of genres available in the school library, which they enjoyed reading to completion. Consistent in-class reading time helped participants read more and improve their reading stamina. Participants used various supports to meet their individual needs and, eventually, to challenge themselves as readers. Finally, participants used the weekly writing assignments as a measure of their progress and motivation for reading. Findings from this study led to the development of a research-based model for adolescent reading intervention programs. Future research is necessary to determine the most effective time and place for the implementation of the free-choice reading intervention model.


Advisors: Susan K. L'Allier.||Committee members: Laurie Elish-Piper; Michael Manderino.||Includes bibliographical references.


xvi, 492 pages




Northern Illinois University

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