Tales of a fourth-grade something
Whitley Halstead, Helene Preston
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This study investigated what occurred when a group of nine to eleven fourth graders were given the space to engage in student-driven discussion during an in-school book club. Data were collected during a seven-month case study and included recorded observations, interviews, field notes, and student artifacts. Data were analyzed and the study was designed using a social constructionist framework. Thematic analysis was used to examine the students’ meaning-making processes and products as well as what students shared about themselves as readers. Implications derived from findings suggest that students move beyond the book and into their own lives when allowed to control the book discussions. Additionally, students used academic norms as well as personal relationships when describing whom they felt was a reader in their class. Books chosen for ownership were made based on factors including pop-culture, previous knowledge of authors or topics, and the choices of other classmates.