In this qualitative study, the authors merge two bodies of previously separated scholarship: (1) a socio-cultural understanding of adolescent girls in light of the shifting meaning of ideal girlhood, and (2) the participation and success of adolescent girls in school-based literacy activities. They apply these fields of inquiry to explore the following questions: (1) What does it mean to be a young woman/girl in middle school? (2) What does it mean to be a young woman/girl reader in middle school? (3) What does it mean to be a young woman/girl in literacy circles and discussion groups? To answer these questions, the authors collected observational and interview data in two classrooms (one grade 6 and one grade 8) from January to June. From the analysis of the data, the authors identify profiles that typify the girls with whom they interacted, capture the girls’ roles during literature discussion groups and other classroom events, and frame the influence of teachers’ actions on the girls.
Published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, 2008