Date of Award

Spring 2003

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The push for higher standards and increased performance for children in the United States, has led to many different strategies being used to assist teachers in improving their students' scores. The subjects in this study were from five fifth grade classrooms in an urban school district in Western New York. The eighty-four students consisted of fifty-five females and twenty-nine males. The students were given lessons in reading and writing autobiographies for Readers' Workshop. At the end of the week the students were asked to write an autobiography about how they learned to read. The results of the study yielded sixty-four autobiographies. The top and bottom readers were determined by the Diagnostic Reading Assessment Test (DRA's). The accomplished readers had more family support throughout school, could name several books read to them when young and all had read to a person or family member while growing up. Family did not support the struggling readers when they started school. They felt that reading was harder because of larger and bigger words. Most of the poor readers did not name more than one book or any book at all. The main point for the struggling readers was the lack of influences for their reading.