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When one thinks of a “reader” they might picture a person with large wire-rimmed glasses, their nose buried deep into the binding of a thick book, perhaps with a cat curled up next to them and maybe a mug of tea. If one had to guess what such a literary person was reading, one would assume something very old and wise like Tolstoy or Wordsworth or Austin. What about the twelve-year-old hanging upside down on his bean bag chair devouring James Dashner’s Maze Runner or the fifteen-year-old laying across her bed, lost in the plot of Elizabeth Acevedo’s Poet X? Are these not readers too? Young adults often do not see themselves as readers, nor do they believe that the books that they are drawn to, usually contemporary fiction with diverse characters, are as valuable as the great classics they are taught in schools. This may be one of the main reasons there is a decline in reading for fun amongst middle and high school students, something I will touch on more later in my introduction. As a future English teacher, the decline in reading is disturbing, but it is also perhaps a wake-up call for educators, particularly at the secondary level, to incorporate literature that represents today’s students.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Lee Torda, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Sarah Thomas, Committee Member

Dr. Kathleen Vejvoda, Committee Member

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.