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A study investigated the relationship between reading and the writings of gifted secondary school writers, especially their developmental reading interests, leisure reading selections, and the influence of others on their literary choices. Subjects, 79 students from rural and urban Arkansas schools were participating in a gifted writers' conference for which they had been selected by their teachers. Representing schools with differing patterns of grade level arrangement, they all came from grades 7-12. Subjects were surveyed as to the age they began reading, favorite books, books read during the last 12 months, number of books read, and how they learned about the books they wanted to read. Teachers were also surveyed about how they recommended books to students and asked to estimate how many books the students read. Survey responses indicated that students identified as gifted writers had a wide range of reading interests and that family and friends most frequently influenced their reading choices. Many students reported reading before school entrance. Dr. Seuss books were early reading choices; Newbery Medal books were cited as favorites during intermediate grades. By the time of secondary education, however, they read a wide range of genres, citing Stephen King as their favorite author, and Shel Silverstein and Edgar Allan Poe as favorite poets. Many books read would be considered adult selections, with horror fiction a popular choice. Advice of teachers and librarians was usually not sought, raising questions about guidance given to secondary students regarding contemporary literature. (NKA)

Descriptors: Contemporary Literature, Gifted, Individual Development, Reading Attitudes, Reading Interests, Reading Research, Reading Writing Relationship, Recreational Reading, Secondary Education, Secondary School Students, Student Surveys, Writing (Composition)

Autor: Sullivan, Emilie P.; Donoho, Grace E.


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