Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Diane Tortu

Abstract

Children need desire and motivation to learn. This study examines the responsive, child- centered teaching practices of a reading and literacy specialist as she helps a student, with low motivation for reading, find a reason to want to read. Although her student is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and aspects of autism come up in this study, the focus here is not on teaching children with autism. Since no two children with a diagnosis present similarly, teaching to a diagnosis is not individualized or sensitive enough to meet the educational and emotional needs of a student. Instead, teachers must consider each child individually; thinking about where the child is developmentally in different areas of their learning, how a child’s strengths and interests might lead them to motivation and success, and what a child needs to feel safe and valued. Teachers can then build engagement and rapport, and create content conducive to a specific child’s needs. By considering an experienced teacher’s methods, this study hopes to enlighten other teachers as to how to meet the needs of their students with sensitivity and skill.

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