Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Lee Ann Townsend


Classic literature continues to complicate reading for middle school struggling readers. Although research has been conducted on struggling readers and strategies to help them, the purpose of this study was to examine struggling readers in conjunction with classic literature. Using the methodologies of historical research (Barone, 2011) and content analysis (Stahl & Hartman, 2011), the current study examined why students struggle to read and comprehend classic literature. Results suggest that text structure including organization and use of graphics complicate comprehension. Language features such as conventionality, vocabulary, sentence structure, and meaning complicate reading. The results also suggest that knowledge demands such as life experiences, intertextuality, and cultural knowledge complicate connecting to the text. Implications of results are discussed.

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