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A case study of the informal literacy development of a rural Midwestern adolescent male

Stephen Stanley King, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The focus of this study was to investigate rural adolescent males' personal literacy development outside formal schooling. When libraries loan resources, or commercial outlets retail literacy developing materials, questions are posed as to whether rural males access such resources, and, did informal personal literacy growth occur through these resources. Do these rural males access human resources outside formal education, or, are technology resources preferred. Few investigations have been published concerning rural adolescent males' informal literacy growth outside formal schooling. This study originated in secondary classroom observations of rural adolescent males investigating non-curricular school materials during formally scheduled classes. The subject of this case study was a rural adolescent male, a senior in high school. Of particular focus was his activity in developing an informal literacy, what motivated him, and did he have resource preferences. Guided by the investigator's criteria and an extension educator's recommendation, the participant was selected. Procedures for data collection included observations, formal interviews, and archival research. Data analysis was conducted simultaneously with the data collection. As themes emerged, they were categorized and coded to shape the writing response. Member checks, triangulation, journaling, and readings all validated the findings. The validation process was supported by limiting the case study to one subject. A single subject also limited the possibility of the study being replicated. Using pseudonyms secured the confidentiality of the participants. The findings will be useful in the preparation of administrators and teachers who represent formal literacy development. The themes that emerged in this study were: evolution of informal literacy, limits of technology, literacy club status, ethical foundations, and self-defense prescription. Recommendations include formal consideration of influential resources on current adolescent informal literacy status, examination of the formal education structure, attentiveness to teacher preparation, investigating the potential of combining adolescent formal and informal literacy development, considering how curricular scheduling by government entities may interfere with literacy development in rural adolescent males, and researcher responsibilities in conducting a single subject research project between the subject and the researcher. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

King, Stephen Stanley, "A case study of the informal literacy development of a rural Midwestern adolescent male" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3070130.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3070130

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