Document Type


Session Format

Graduate Research Poster (no oral presentation)

Publication Date



Research Question How do struggling readers identify their experiences with reading, both inside and outside of school?

Purpose In an era of high stakes testing and pressure for students to demonstrate academic achievement, particularly in reading, the state of Georgia has emphasized additional rigor over the past ten years. Data demonstrates that 36% of Georgia’s children read below grade level at the end of third grade (GADOE, 2022). A range of efforts to improve reading levels include the establishment of the Deal Center, Senate Dyslexia Bill (SB 48), and a state reading task force addressing teacher preparation for teaching reading. Despite all these endeavors, the voices missing from the conversation are those of individuals who struggle with reading.

Research Design To explore this perspective, including potential intervention strategies, we engaged in a qualitative study examining “What Struggling Readers Think”. We interviewed students, who had already been identified as struggling readers, to gather insights into their reading experiences. In addition, we interviewed adults who identify as struggling readers. These developmental perspectives revealed specific points of difficulty in connection with what we understand from literacy research and Critical Disability Studies (CDS).

Findings & Implications Across ages, struggling readers expressed resistance to and avoidance of reading. Participants perceived significant critique of others regarding their challenges in reading, in ways that shaped their feelings about themselves as learners. Participants described clear desire for help with reading, specifically teacher read alouds, spelling, decoding, and complex comprehension. Teens and adults, who received effective interventions, described finding an appreciation for reading in their daily lives and an awareness of tools needed to support their ongoing progress. This presentation will elucidate how the experiences of struggling readers can inform educators in designing more effective interventions and increase reading levels in Georgia.

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