Engaging the identities of the talented reader




Tait, Erin Kimberly

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This qualitative research explored the relationship between identity and reading achievement for the talented reader. In this study a talented reader was defined as a student who exceeded expectations on the reading comprehension section of the Grade 7 Fundamental Skills Assessment or who had a grade of A (87-100%) in English 8. This study was situated in the theories and research that explore how identity and motivation are connected to student success in the classroom. Three female Grade 8 talented readers from a private middle school were the participants of this collective case study. Data were collected through semi-structured interview transcripts and each student was interviewed only once. The three research questions guided both the independent analysis of each case, and the cross-case analysis that identified commonalities and areas of uniqueness. Data analysis revealed that the three talented students’ strong sense of academic self-efficacy contributed to their overall identity and success in the literacy classroom. These talented participants also held positive attitudes towards learning, found purpose in their academic endeavours, and were socially motivated to participate in classroom literacy activities. A trend in dropping motivation for learning was noted as these talented readers stated that they were not challenged in their learning and that their learning was not always connected to their personal identities. The three participants desired more choice in their reading and flexibility in the structuring of assignments. Future research in the area of identity-literacy theory should include more talented students from diverse backgrounds, and the perceptions of others and observations made by researchers to increase the triangulation of the findings and overall trustworthiness of such studies.



talented reader middle school, identity