Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Secondary Education - English (Ed.D)

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Rachel Gaines

Second Advisor

Dr. Darren Crovitz

Third Advisor

Dr. Anete Vasquez


In the present study, the researcher sought to understand student perceptions of themselves as readers compared to their ideal selves as readers. This is in response to personal experience with struggling readers, as well as GADOE data showing the magnitude of the issue surrounding struggling readers at Mountain Middle School (MMS). The data collected included student drawings and accompanying interviews. Findings revealed that students placed their perceptions of self within specific classroom situations and settings, which reveals the complexity and contextual nature of perception of self as a reader. Though individual stories and experiences were unique, six major themes emerged across all narratives, including reading as an (inter)personal experience, perceived roadblocks to reading achievement and enjoyment, social comparisons of reading, student ideal selves and perfect worlds, change of reading enjoyment over time, and motivation increased with texts that participants personally deemed interesting. This study sheds light on the importance of knowing who students are as readers on a deeper level so that we can understand the contextual and self-directed aspects that shape our students’ perceptions of self.