Date of Award

Winter 2002

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Jane Hansen


This study addresses the question, "When third grade students become evaluators of themselves as readers, what new roles do they negotiate for themselves?" I studied third grade students who became evaluators of themselves as readers, examining evaluation process. This included their own determination of their strengths, goals, assignments, and what to use as documentation of their learning processes in portfolios, as well as the influence of the classroom community on goal setting. Using observation, co-teaching, and group and individual interviews, I documented the new roles students adopted as they became better evaluators of their learning needs and took a more active role in planning their own learning experiences during reading class.

I found that four different student roles emerged as they evaluated themselves as readers: (1) constructors: students who created and planned learning experiences based on self evaluations, (2) reflectors: students who reflected critically about what was and wasn't working in their goals and made revisions as necessary, (3) connectors: students who bridged learning goals to other areas of curriculum and life, and, (4) resistors: students who challenged and resisted the invitation to take a more active stance as a learner.

Additionally, elements of time and talk were especially influential in helping these third grade readers develop reading confidence. The connected concepts of evaluation, talk, and time all led toward confident students who took initiative in their learning decisions. Students negotiated new roles and new ways of viewing themselves as learners as they worked through their goal-setting. Their evaluations of their own needs became central to their reading progress, and students made themselves responsible for continuing their progress by setting new goals.

By negotiating new roles and bringing confidence to their abilities to make decisions, these third graders, if given support in future grades, will see themselves as people who can make a difference in their own learning.