Connecting Adolescents to Adolescent Literature: A Study of Eighth Graders' Lived Experiences and Literature's Responses


English teachers at every grade level are constantly faced with the overwhelming challenge of not only teaching their students to read, but teaching them to love reading at the same time. We already know the power of a good book; how it can carry us far away from our biggest problems or deeper into ourselves to help us manage the adversities we face. Many young adults, however, may never have had the opportunity to find the perfect book - the one that moves us like nothing else can. For some, this could be a fantasy book full of hobbits or sorcerers. For others, it could be a romance or adventure novel. Probably for most adolescents, however, the perfect book would be one which tells the story of young people facing real problems, experiencing real thoughts and emotions, finding a real place in their world. It would let teens know that they are not alone - that others have been where they are, and have survived. The question then, is whether or not today's young adult literature addresses such realistic themes. Through professional research, personal experiences in reading young adult novels, and private interviews and focus groups with young people, I will discover whether the real issues that adolescents face are accurately represented in the literature they read. Ultimately, the answer will come from the students themselves. They alone can tell us whether the truths of their lives are reflected in the fiction of their novels.


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Thesis Completion





Ousley, Denise


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Education

Degree Program

English Education


Dissertations, Academic -- Education; Education -- Dissertations, Academic; Young adult literature -- Study and teaching (Elementary)







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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