Technology in their hands: Students' voices from a Nook summer reading program for non-proficient fifth-grade students
Mitchell, Chrystine Cooper
Turner, Jennifer D
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Researchers have documented a "summer reading setback" where a demonstrated achievement gap between proficient and struggling readers expands during the summer months (Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2003). Educators need to devise a plan to foster diverse independent reading (Byrnes, 2000) by providing students access to texts of interest (Ivey & Broaddus, 2001; Hughes-Hassell & Rodge, 2007) and researchers suggest when given opportunities to read e-books, students read more (Fasimpaur, 2004). This study was designed to reveal students' perceptions of a Nook summer reading program granting the students access to a wide variety of eBooks, paying particular attention to the non-proficient fifth-grade students' reported summer reading behaviors and the influences for students' summer reading. Using a qualitative exploratory approach, I studied 20 students who participated in a summer independent reading program using Nook digital readers. I was able to analyze and interpret the student voices regarding their summer reading experiences using an online book log, student questionnaires, focus group interviews, and through two individual student case studies. I analyzed and interpreted the data through an interpretive mosaic focused on four overarching themes and the intersection of those themes which included: the reader, access to text, social relationships and Nook digital readers. I found important implications that were generated from the students' reported reading behaviors and perceptions: 1) Social reading relationships were cultivated through the experience, 2) Access to a variety of texts shaped the kinds of reading students engaged in, and 3) Nook digital readers helped to foster students' reported positive summer reading behaviors. This study serves as a foundation to consider how and in what ways technology shapes students' literacy experiences as we forge ahead in this technological saturated society.