Creating inclusive spaces for struggling readers

Leigh A. Hall, Leslie D. Burns, Heather Taxis Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose – To describe four instructional components teachers can use to help create more inclusive spaces for struggling readers: (a) language use, (b) repositioning struggling readers as primary knowers, (c) making struggling normal, and (d) creating reading partnerships. Design/methodology/approach – The chapter describes research findings from studies of middle grades students in English language arts, and theorizes work with struggling readers on the basis of identity theories, research about identifying and utilizing students’ own funds of knowledge, and research about the conditions for building reading self-efficacy, motivation, and engagement. Findings – Provides detailed descriptions of how teachers’ language use, reading partnerships, making struggling a normal part of reading processes, and helping struggling readers become full participants in classroom life, including models, examples, and interview data with middle grades struggling readers. Research limitations/implications – Adjusting teachers’ language use in discussions of how to read, using students’ knowledge of reading and other topics from outside of school, enabling collaboration through peer reading partnerships, and positioning all students to understand that struggling with reading is normal and not necessarily a sign of low ability. Practical implications – This is a valuable source for classroom teachers who are seeking successful strategies for engaging and supporting struggling readers while also creating a positive classroom environment for reading instruction in general. Originality/value of chapter – The environment a reading teacher creates, including the language that teacher uses, can have a powerful and positive impact on struggling readers’ classroom identities, self-efficacy, motivation, and ability to engage successfully with reading processes in school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-240
Number of pages22
JournalLiteracy Research, Practice and Evaluation
StatePublished - May 22 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Literacy
  • Middle grades
  • Reading
  • Reading motivation and engagement
  • Self-efficacy
  • Teacher language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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