Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Susan Adamson


For instructional purposes, teachers often use an informal reading inventory, among other assessments, to sort students into like-ability groups. While undoubtedly beneficial in terms of planning and small group work, it appears in some classrooms that informal reading inventory (IRI) data sometimes becomes the driving force in literacy-related curricular decisions – including using IRI data to limit the books students have access to. With this observation as a starting point, this research attempts to answer the questions – What is the correlation, if any, between the text difficulty of books students self-select and the amount of reading growth they experience? The research conducted over the last year examines how children’s literacy growth is effected in a classroom context where readers are making their own decisions about what books to read during daily independent reading time.

This research was conducted in a second grade classroom in an urban school in the Midwest. Informal reading inventory data was collected at the beginning and end of this study providing a measure of students’ reading ability, and book logs kept by students in their book totes were collected each week to track book choices of individual readers for the duration of the study. A wide range of professional texts both in favor of and against students having the opportunity to self-select books regardless of reading level were also consulted.

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