Will future generations of the United States of America be literate enough to meet the demands of the future? In 1985 the Commission on Reading raised~his question and sought to find solutions and educational suggestions. The findings of the Report suggest that students learn to read through a series of steps, where each step is important in the completion of their journey. Identifying practices and educational methods of outstanding reading programs will contribute to the development of literate United States citizens.
The purpose of this study was to identify literature-based experiences in both a· Fifth and Third grade elementary classroom. These experiences can provide opportunities for students to create and develop reading skills and, an interest in literature. Louise Rosenblatt's Transactional Theory of the Literary Work was used to develop a conceptual framework for this study. The focal point of this Theory is the relationship between the reader and the text. To investigate this topic a qualitative method was used. Using the qualitative method provided the opportunity for the researcher to be a participant observer to gather data and, learn from the process of the research instead of the product.
Developing an atmosphere and classroom environment that supports and recognizes the value in literature-based experiences is essential in teaching students to read. Methods that promote and encourage reading development include oral reading, sustained silent reading, and parental involvement. Educators, parents and the community must together promote these methods to develop proficient readers.
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