Research Ideas

Right now I’m reading Designing Qualitative Research (Marshall & Rossman, 2006) in preparation for Wednesday’s class meeting. As scared as I am about the dissertation process I have at the forefront of my brain, developing ideas about what I want to research. I figured I’d record them here under a common tag, and refer to them later.

As I was reading, I made a connection between the process of asking questions specific to and important for the advancement of a particular field, and the reading I did in Smart Answers to Tough Questions (Garan, 2007) about questions on reading. In this section, Garan talks about how silent sustained reading is important for students to build fluency (especially if they’re reading something they like), and to move them to becoming better readers. There is a little discussion about Accelerated Reader and how there is insubstantial research both for and against this particular program. There is criticism that the focus is on extrinsic reward for readers, and the questions asked on the quizzes are all surface, Bloom’s Level 1 Remember, type questions.

What I wonder is what programs like this do to the dispositions of young readers–especially when the self-selection of books is limited to those books that are on or above their level. Do they become life-long readers? How many of those students who had poor dispositions toward reading and Accelerated Reader as elementary school students end up in the Read180 program or programs like it at the middle and high school level? Does that program (which includes an AR like quiz program called Scholastic Reading Counts) change those dispositions? Or do the students internalize more because they want their elective back?

I realize that many of these questions are specific to the environment in which I currently teach, but I am sure they apply to other districts as well.


Garan, E. (2007). Smart Answers to Tough Questions. New York: Scholastic.

Marshall, M. and Rossman, G. (2007). Designing Qualitative Research.  Los Angeles: Sage.

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