Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

William Boozang, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Catherine Gniewek, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.


This qualitative case study was designed to add insight to the scholarly literature about how college freshmen understand and describe their reading experiences. Two research questions guided this study: How do college freshmen understand and describe their educational reading experiences, and how do college freshmen understand the difference between college level reading and the reading experiences they had in high school. The researcher utilized semistructured interviews with a sample of 13 participants in a rural county in the western portion of the United States. Participants also provided textual samples from their freshman level college courses. Each participant had completed at least one semester of postsecondary education at either a community college, technical school, or four-year university. The key findings in this study were that despite warnings of increased rigor and volume, students were ultimately overwhelmed with the substantial reading requirements upon entering college. Class participation based on the course reading was rigorous and deep. The most common way to manage the amount of required college reading was to just skim the text and highlight the main ideas. Nearly all participants indicated that they completed high school with little or no reading of textbooks or prose fiction. College freshmen who attended technical schools experienced the biggest gap in preparation for the reading experiences that they faced in college. Community college students indicated the least amount of personal responsibility for their reading skills or abilities. Conversely, attendees of four-year universities shared the most personal responsibility for their learning and reading skills or practice.

Included in

Education Commons