The Past, Present, and Future of Reading: Portraits of Recent High School Graduates

Gordon Van Owen, Fordham University


This study used the portraiture method to explore the reading lives of four college students by examining their reading lives in three eras: the present, the past, and the future. Using long-form, active interviews, this study asked participants to reflect on their daily reading habits, their experiences learning to read, and their aspirations for reading in the future. This study aims to elevate the voices of students whose perspectives are often underexplored in the reading research literature, including students with disability, students of color, and first-generation students. By using identity as an analytical lens to evaluate how participants explained changes in their reading identities over time and by framing the study through a sociocultural view of reading, all participants, regardless of their reading identity, indicated having high reading self-concept despite having differential levels of motivation to read. The portraits revealed a complex narrative of learning to read in school that has a strong impact on present perceptions and reading self-concept.

Subject Area

Reading instruction|Educational psychology|Education

Recommended Citation

Van Owen, Gordon, "The Past, Present, and Future of Reading: Portraits of Recent High School Graduates" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30574896.