Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Gina DeBlase


Using a convenience sampling of 10 eighth-grade language arts students, this exploratory case study examined in depth the literacy processes used by ten 8th grade students to generate various multimodal artifacts that comprise their final projects and the nature of the literacy transactions that fostered these processes over the course of one year in this language arts classroom. Following closely (via the case studies in Chapter Five) how four of the ten students used the literacy events of the classroom to claim spaces to perceive and perform their voices and visions, the study revealed how these students were able to turn away from a specific form of silencing, both on and off the page, and reclaim a lost voice that helped them better navigate their lives and their literacies. This navigation transcended classroom walls to encompass larger social arenas in which students continued to perform and practice their literary and living choices.

I conducted three focus group interviews with all ten students. The purpose of these interviews was to define, from these students’ perspectives, the literacy practices they engaged in over the course of the 2012-2013 academic year as part of their eighth-grade language arts class. In studying how these transactions helped shape these students’ literate thinking, my intent was to investigate ways in which both local and global contexts interact to help students promote or resist social and political trends. The study brought into question and deconstructed the grand narratives surrounding our American identity and the traditional literacies that serve to define and legitimize them.

My findings revealed that the literacy events in the classroom, facilitated and negotiated by an interested and knowledgeable adult, offered these ten students a wide range of personal ways to practice, in new and innovative ways, both academic and personal choices.