Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version


Document Type



Todd-Meyer, L. (2015). Lest I forget: Case studies in listening to high school students struggling with academic literacy. Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies (Teaching, Curriculum and Learning), Under the Supervision of Professor Stephen Swidler. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Lois M. Todd-Meyer


Adolescents who struggle with the academic literacy demands of high school have often experienced years of frustration and even failure with literacy learning. School districts are now accountable for making sure all students achieve a prescribed level of proficiency as measured by standardized and performance assessments. How can educators best help adolescents who struggle with literacy reach a level of proficiency that will facilitate their success not only on standardized tests, but will also help them become engaged citizens of our democracy? The purpose of this study was to listen closely to high school students who were identified as struggling readers early in their experience with school. The intent was to gain insight about how these students view themselves as readers and learners. Understanding this about students can inform effective literacy instruction and intervention. Three students in my high school Reading Enrichment class agreed to participate in this case study research. I conducted multiple interviews with each student and took observation notes both in and outside of class. I also collected students’ artifacts. The data was first analyzed for each case. Then, through cross-case analysis of the educational biographies of all three participants, three themes were identified that were present in all cases: the impact of elementary school literacy instruction and interventions, the importance to literacy interventions of a relationship with teachers based on mutual respect, and how standardized test-driven literacy instruction and interventions shapes students’ experience with literacy and with school. Implications for teachers, school administrators and policy makers are discussed as well as possibilities for future teacher-researcher case study research.

Adviser: Stephen Swidler