The Changing Lives Through Literature program for juvenile offenders
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purpose of this study was to learn if the Changing Lives through Literature program for juvenile offenders actually lived up to its billing of transforming troubled teens by having them read Young Adult novels. If it worked, why did it work? Were there insights to be gleaned that could translate to the language arts classroom? To find answers to the research questions I posed in this qualitative study, I borrowed grounded theory methods in the framework of a case study. The "case" was a full seven-week course of a CLTL session for juveniles. I was not testing a hypothesis, so the various data sources (including observations, interviews, and artifacts) were coded, patterns were identified, and hypotheses were formed to arrive at the findings. I found that CLTL works for some juveniles but not others. Although it is not a cure-all, CLTL does appear to address the underlying causes of juvenile crime rather than simply threaten to punish offenders. The juveniles' interest is engaged by the selection of high-interest reading material dealing topics with which they can relate. They are then challenged to examine the characters' decision-making processes, along with their own. The discussion format at the CLTL meetings is designed to enhance the juveniles' cognitive processes and their emotional intelligence, thereby impacting the way the juveniles respond to the stimuli in their environments.
Access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.