“Okay, Miss, I want to talk it out”: Metacognitive Dialogue Supporting Adolescent Literacy Success


  • Kelli Bippert Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi


Comprehension Strategies, adolescent literacy, secondary school, dialogue, Literacy Interventions


Teachers in Texas are now required to provide accelerated instruction for students who were not successful on the STAAR Reading Test. This article considers the types of intervention teachers and schools provide for adolescent readers. This article examines one adolescent student's behaviors while reading challenging texts. Robert (pseudonym) was found to increasingly rely on strategic behaviors using dialogue with self and others to support reading comprehension. Over the course of 11 weeks, Robert improved his success rate on an online reading intervention program from 3 successful attempts mid-year to 31 successful attempts by the end of the academic year. Using a comprehension-as-sense-making theoretical frame, findings suggest that providing at-risk adolescents opportunities to engage in dialogic strategic behaviors could encourage successful problem solving when working with challenging texts, an asset-oriented approach to intervention. 


Allington, R. L. (2007). Intervention all day long: New hope for struggling readers. Voices from the Middle, 14, 7–14.

Allington, R. L. (2011). Reading intervention in the middle grades. Voices from the Middle, 19(2), 10-16.

Alvermann, D. E. (2001). Reading adolescents' reading identities: Looking back to see ahead. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 44, 676–690.

Aukerman, M. (2008). In praise of wiggle room: Locating comprehension in unlikely places. Language Arts, 86(1), 52-60.

Aukerman, M. (2013). Rereading comprehension pedagogies: Toward a dialogic teaching ethic that honors student sensemaking. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 1, 1-30. https://doi.org/10.5195/dpj.2013.9

Aukerman, M., Brown, R., Mokhari, K., Valencia, S., & Palincsar, A. (2015). Examining the relative contributions of content knowledge and strategic processing to comprehension. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 64(1), 73-91. https://doi.org/10.1177/2381336915617605


Boardman, A. G., Boelé, A. L., & Klingner, J. K. (2017). Strategy instruction shifts teacher and student interactions during text-based discussions. Reading Research Quarterly, 53(2), 175-195. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.191

Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and symbolic power. Harvard University Press.

Brooks, M. D. & Frankel, K. K. (2018). Why the “struggling reader” label is harmful (and what educators can do about it). Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 62(1), 111-114. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaal.758

Daley, S. G., Xu, Y., Proctor, C. P., Rappolt-Schlichtmann, G., & Goldowsky, B. (2020). Behavioral Engagement among Adolescents with Reading Difficulties: The Role of Active Involvement in a Universally Designed Digital Literacy Platform. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 36(3), 278-295. https://doi.org/10.1080/10573569.2019.1635545

Dennis, D. V. (2009). “I’m not stupid”: How assessment drives (in)appropriate reading instruction. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 53(4), 283–290. https://doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.53.4.2

Dudley-Marling, C. (2011). The trouble with "struggling readers." Talking Points, 23(1), 2-7.

Enriquez, G. (2011). Embodying exclusion: The daily melancholia and performative politics of struggling early adolescent readers. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 10(3), 90–112.

Farkas, W. A. & Jang, B. G. (2019). Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating a School-Based Literacy Program for Adolescent Learners with Reading Difficulties: A Mixed-Methods Study. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 35(4), 305-321. https://doi.org/10.1080/10573569.2018.1541770

Fisher, D. & Ivey, G. (2006). Evaluating the interventions for struggling adolescent readers. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 50(3), 180-189. https://doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.50.3.2

Goldman, S. R., Snow, C., & Vaughn, S. (2016). Common themes in teaching reading for understanding: Lessons from three projects, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 60(3), 255–264. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaal.586

Hall, L. A. (2009). Struggling reader, struggling teacher: An examination of student-teacher transactions with reading instruction and text in social studies. Research in the Teaching of English, 43(3), 286–309.

Handsfield, L. J. & Jimenez, R. T. (2009). Cognition and misrecognition: A Bourdieuian analysis of cognitive strategy instruction in a linguistically and culturally diverse classroom. Journal of Literacy Research, 41(2), 151-195. https://doi.org/10.1080/10862960802695172

Harmer, A. J., & Cates, W. M. (2007). Designing for learner engagement in middle school science. Computers in the Schools, 24(1-2), 105–124. http://doi.org/10.1300/J025v24n01_08

Ivey, G. (1999). Teaching struggling middle school readers. The Education Digest, 65, 60–65.

Ivey, G. (2019). Engaging possibilities: Reinvigorating the call for research on reading. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 68(1), 25-44. https://doi.org/10.1177/2381336919868239

Klauda, S. L., Wigfield, A., & Cambria, J. (2012). Struggling readers’ information text comprehension and motivation in early adolescence. In J. T. Guthrie, A. Wigfield, and S. L. Klauda (Eds.) Adolescent Engagement in Academic Literacy (pp. 295–351). Corwin. http://cori.umd.edu/research-publications/2012_adolescents_engagement_ebook.pdf

Lopez, B. (2022, July 25). It’s not just COVID-19: Why Texas faces a teacher shortage. The Texas Tribune. https://www.texastribune.org/2022/07/25/texas-teacher-shortage/#:~:text=About%208%2C600%20teachers%20retired%20in,since%20the%202018%20fiscal%20year

Maniates, H., & Pearson, P. D. (2008). The cirrucularization of comprehension strategies instruction: A conspiracy of good intentions. In Y. Kim, V. J. Risko, D. L. Compton, D. K. Dickinson, M. K. Hundley, R. T. Jimenez, M. M. Leander, & D. W. Rowe (Eds.), 57th Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 271–282). Oka Creek, WI: National Reading Conference.

Marshall, D. T., Pressley, T., Neugebauer, N. M., & Shannon, D. M. (2022). Why teachers are leaving and what we can do about it. Phi Kelta Kappan, 104(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/00317217221123642

Meth, J. M. (2010). Inspiring curiosity and enthusiasm for nonfiction: A project designed to boost students’ will to read. The English Journal, 100(1), 76–82. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20787695

Moje, E. B., & Dillon, D. R. (2006). Adolescent identities as demanded by science classroom discourse communities. In D. E. Alvermann, K. A. Hinchman, D. W. Moore, S. F. Phelps, & D. R. Waff (Eds.), Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents’ Lives (3rd ed., pp. 85–106). Routledge.

Steiner, E. D. & Woo, A. (2021). Job-related stress threatens teacher supply. Rand Corporation.

Rand Reading Study Group. (2002). Reading for understanding: Toward an R&D program in reading comprehension. RAND.

Reynolds, D. (2021). Updating practice recommendations: Taking stock of 12 years of adolescent literacy research. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 65(1), 37-46. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaal.1176

Risko, V., Walker-Dahhouse, D., & Arragones, A. (2011). The promise of an alternate perspective: Struggling readers through a socio-cultural research lens. In T. Morrison, L. Martin, M. Boggs, S. Szabo, & L. Haas (Eds.), Literacy Promises (pp. 187-204). Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers. ISBN: 1-883604-17-6.

Pressley, M. (2000). What should comprehension instruction be the instruction of? In M. I. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. 3, pp. 545–561). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Saldaña, J. (2016). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Sage.

Texas Education Agency (TEA). (2021, June 25). House bill 4545 implementation overview. Texas Education Agency. https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/HB4545-Implementation-Overview.pdf

Tripplett, C. F. (2007). The social construction of "struggle": Influences of school literacy, contexts, curriculum, and relationships. Journal of Literacy Research, 39(1), 95–126. https://doi.org/10.1080/10862960709336759



Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 > >>