University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 2019 & 2020
2020 Mentor: Dr. Laura Smith, Department of English
2020 Research Title: Variations in High School Reading Lists and Student Reading Compliance
Variations in High School Reading Lists and Student Reading Compliance
Studies have found that the reading lists of today remain nearly unchanged from those of thirty years ago, which means they have not adapted to fit the demographics and interests of current students. Less than 7% of books on the reading lists created, then, were written by authors of color, and less than 16% were written by women (Applebee, 1992). Since then, the reading lists have remained curiously stagnant. This lack of diversity denies other students the ability to see their stories reflected in the books they’re required to read which can lead to a lack of interest in the literature, itself (Greenbaum, 1992; Hinton & Dickinson, 2005). The purpose of this study is to investigate current reading lists while examining their variation and diversity to discover how these factors relate to reading compliance amongst students in the classroom. This study will focus on teachers’ perceptions of the level of reading compliance in their classrooms associated to these reading. Through surveys and interviews, this study hopes to uncover the composition, diversity, and perceived engagement of modern-day reading lists. Creating a better understanding of what makes a successful reading list allows for their improvement so that they can better serve and benefit the students of today.
2019 Mentor: Dr. Laura Smith, Department of English
2019 Research Title: The Relationship Between Multicultural Representation In Children's Literature and Reading Practices Of Young Adults
The Relationship Between Multicultural Representation In Children's Literature And Reading Practices Of Young Adults
Students of color – anyone of non-European descent, including non-white Hispanics – are found to read noticeably less than their white counterparts in the United States, and this literacy gap continues to affect American students as they mature into adulthood. This research project will explore the possible relationship between this reading disparity and the minute number of children’s books featuring protagonists of color. Similar studies have shown that a child’s ability to connect with the characters in the books they read influences how interested they are in the books they’re reading, and possibly affects their reading practices. This study will further delve into this idea by interviewing both students of color and white students on the University of New Hampshire’s campus about their current reading practices and their childhood reading experiences. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the connections a young adult made with any children’s books and how much they currently read. Through analyzing transcriptions of the interviews, this relationship will be further examined with the hopes of better understanding the effect that multicultural representation in children’s books has on reading practices. The results of this study could influence the way that reading lists are chosen in schools as well as the importance that teachers, parents, and publishers place on diversifying the genre of children’s literature.