"THE ROLE OF IDENTITY IN READING INSTRUCTION
The findings presented here suggest that improving the quality or amount of reading instruction and tasks in subject-area classrooms may have limited influence on students’ reading achievement unless teachers and researchers address the role of identity. Struggling readers may value acquiring the skills their teachers want them to develop, but they may place a higher premium on their social positioning within their class or home community. Their decision to acquire a socially valued identity at the expense of developing academically is not something that they always desire. Therefore, it becomes important to consider how students can achieve both their academic and social goals.
First, it is important for teachers to understand how students see themselves as readers and learning who they would like to become. Researchers have suggested that adolescents can use agency to shape their individual identities (McCarthey & Moje, 2002). Students can learn how to transform their identities, and acquire new skills in the process, through numerous social encounters with their teachers and peers. Such experiences can result in positive transformations when students are allowed to take control of their developing identities and are given time to think and question who they want to become (Moje & Lewis, 2007). The process of developing as a reader, and transforming one’s reading identity, then relies on the existence of multiple reading identities being valued within a given space and without forcing students to adopt a specific identity or be viewed as failures.