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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe focus of this study is the impact of a children's literature course on the reading practices of undergraduate preservice teachers. During 1996, I taught Children's Literature in the Classroom, LRC 480, at the University of Arizona. During this class, I undertook a study of the preservice teachers in my course using the research methods of a qualitative study. My purpose was to elicit the preservice teachers' perceptions of themselves as readers in the beginning and at the end of the course and to determine which elements of the course were most influential. The major themes that emerged from the data were concerned with the reading practices of the preservice teachers and the significant aspects of the course. All the students experienced some changes in regard to their reading practices. The major change the students noted was an increase in their enthusiasm for reading and a renewed enjoyment of reading. A majority of the students were choosing to read daily in the beginning of the semester in contrast with other research (Timbs, 1993; DeKoff, 1992) that found less frequent reading. The four most influential elements in the course were: (1) the influence of the instructor; (2) small group work; (3) class projects that provided active learning experiences emphasizing the affective elements of reading literature and (4) self evaluation that promoted students' choice and control over their own learning. The study found that the major change the students noted (their enthusiasm and renewed enjoyment of reading) was influenced by these elements of the course. The implications of these findings are that instructors who wish to encourage preservice students to have positive experiences with reading should include these elements in preservice courses: an instructor with a passion for literature; class projects that feature experiential learning tasks promoting the affective elements of reading literature; an emphasis on self-evaluation and opportunities for small group collaborations. Preservice teachers in such courses will have opportunities to build or renew their enjoyment of reading.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture