Engaging the Reluctant Preservice Teacher Reader: Exploring Possible Selves with Literature Featuring Teachers

Shannon Tovey, Kennesaw State University


Teachers’ literacy identities inform how they teach reading. Only about half, however, view themselves as enthusiastic readers, and up to 40% have negative attitudes toward reading. The repercussions are great: not only do teachers who are unenthusiastic about reading produce uninspired students, but they also use fewer research-based reading strategies. Rooted in Storyworld Possible Selves (SPS) theory, the purpose of this study was to explore how and in what ways preservice teachers, identified as reluctant readers, might improve their attitudes and visions of themselves as reading teachers as a result of reading, reflecting upon, and engaging in discussion around fictional and autobiographic literature that featured teachers. Findings indicated that these experiences did seem to improve general attitudes toward reading, and resulted in a deeper understanding of themselves as readers and reading teachers. The study presents implications for teacher educators and provides delineation and a coding scheme for analyzing transformational responses to literature.