Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Susan Homan, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Young, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Suzanne Quinn, Ph.D.


kidwatching, reading, observation, constant comparison, empowerment


My research assistant and I employed participant observation to study graduate tutors and children in a literacy camp setting. Research questions were: What types of literacy instruction do nine children receive from graduate education major tutors in a community of interest summer literacy camp? How do nine children respond to literacy instruction they receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp? We collected data once a week for six weeks. We observed and took notes to determine what instruction graduate tutors offered and how children responded. I used autoethnographic methods to reflect on my former teaching practices. Ellis and Bochner (2000) say that to be an autoethnographer you must be introspective about your feelings, observant about the world, self-questioning, and vulnerable. Data consisted of observation notes, writing samples, and my introspection regarding teaching practices. I found, through constant comparison analysis, that graduate tutors provided supportive, meaningful instruction to children and as a result the children felt empowered. Based on these findings, I suggest that teachers remain mindful of the benefits of supportive student-centered pedagogy. Future endeavors may include bringing these instructional techniques into the classroom.