School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Sarah E Horne


adult learner, adult literacy, college motivation, developmental education, remedial courses


Cognitive Psychology | Education


The purpose of this phenomenological case study is to explore the reading attitudes and decision-making skills of college freshmen enrolled in remedial language arts courses. The theoretical framework guiding this study is qualitative phenomenology explained by Baxter and Jack (2008). This specific type of research “provides tools for researchers to study complex phenomena within their contexts” and the findings help researchers evaluate program, design, and intervention methods, which is pertinent to the discovery of prevailing reading attitudes among struggling students and allows researchers to prevent, adjust, and improve these attitudes in future students (Baxter and Jack, 2008; Yin, 2003). This phenomenological case study utilizes questionnaire, direct observation, and interviews to collect data about eleven college freshmen enrolled in developmental language arts courses in northeast Georgia; the information collected using multiple data sources is subjected to open-coding and two-tiered coding and is then free imaginative variation is used to interpret the information found in field notes, questionnaires, and interviews. The analysis of data showed that lack of parental involvement, poor K-12 learning experiences, misconception of the term “good reader,” a sense of loss or lack of direction, disinterest in reading, and reading as punishment were themes common across multiple cases. By examining the reading attitudes and experiences of these participants, parents and educators can better assess the best way to address reading motivation and decision-making problems and help future students become better readers and thereby, better learners.