Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia College of Education faculty member Jennifer M. Graff has received the 2009 Dissertation of the Year Award from the International Reading Association for her research concerning young girls and their book preferences.
Graff, an assistant professor in the department of language and literacy education, received the 2009 award for her work titled, The Literary Lives of Marginalized Readers: Preadolescent Girls’ Rationales for Book Choice and Experiences with Self-Selected Books.
“Reading is often considered a literacy practice at which girls excel and enjoy and contemporary research has often focused on how to help struggling male readers. However, according to literacy research and national assessments such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a substantial number of females do struggle with reading,” Graff said. “Thus, the purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand why girls who struggle with reading selected particular books for personal use and their subsequent experiences with those books. Such understanding would provide additional insight into the significance of books for struggling readers and the sociocultural factors associated with such significance.”
Graff joined the UGA faculty in 2007. Her current research interests include sociocultural contexts of reading, reading engagement and motivation, and children’s literature. She received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction, the M.Ed. in reading education and a bachelor’s degree in English literature with an emphasis in gender studies, all from the University of Florida.