Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Nikki Chamblee

Second Advisor

Joseph Rumenapp


As students age, their rates of aliteracy, a type of reading resistance where an individual can read but chooses not to, increase. Secondary schools are tasked with supporting aliterate students’ development into mature readers who not only possess adequate reading skills but also the reading interests and attitudes that enable them to thoughtfully participate in citizenship. Through a nonequivalent control group design, this study investigated the impact of language interactions with guest speakers on high school seniors’ reading skills and reading maturity. The reading skills and reading maturity of a treatment group and a control group were measured using the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and The Reading Maturity Survey (Thomas, 2001). These assessments were administered prior to and after the treatment. The treatment group had six language interactions with adult members of the school community; the control group did not. Each of these community guest speakers presented a book talk about a favorite title. The guest speakers then engaged in conversation with students. The study found that language interactions with guest speakers did not have a statistically significant impact on participants’ reading skills, but they did have a statistically positive impact on participants’ reading maturity. Reading maturity development is an integral part of being a well-read, informed citizen. Secondary schools should focus on strategies to build senior students’ reading maturity to better prepare students for responsible civic engagement.