This dissertation examined online book clubs for youth offered during the summer by a metropolitan public library system. Voluntary reading rates for both boys and girls plummet as they move through adolescence (NEA, 2007, NAEP, 2005). Book clubs are one way to support youth in pleasure reading (Appleman, 2006). Although many book clubs geared for youth are school-based, researchers are beginning to take notice of the possibilities that exist for literacy and learning outside the classroom (Hull & Schultz, 2001). These online book clubs were viewed as sites of possibility -- lenses through which both schools and libraries can more readily understand the possibilities that exist in encouraging "old" and "new" literate practices (Lankshear & Knobel, 2005).
This case study utilized Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis (Herring, 2006) and Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 1995) to understand more deeply the practices and discourses employed within these online book clubs. Three book clubs (one all-boy, one all-girl, and one mixed-gender) were investigated to understand (1) who participated in these clubs, (2) how both preteens and facilitators participated and (3) the ways in which the online context and gendered separation of the clubs shaped the clubs' discourse.
Analysis of these clubs indicated the promise of online book clubs in (1) providing support for continued voluntary reading, (2) engaging non- and/or struggling readers, and (3) offering a safe scaffold for youth to experience and broaden their new literacies skills and practices. In addition, a model that identifies the elements necessary for engaging youth in online book clubs was proposed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2009. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Joan E. Hughes, David R. O’Brien. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 181 pages, appendices A-F. Ill. (some col.)
Scharber Doering, Cassandra M..
Online book clubs for the net generation..
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