Date of Award

Fall 12-12-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Mary Ariail, PhD.

Second Advisor

Dana Fox, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Amy Flint, Phd.

Fourth Advisor

Patricia Carter, PhD.


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate the ways in which currently diagnosed dyslexic females, who navigated adolescence and their concomitant schooling without a definitive diagnosis of dyslexia, negotiated their identities in the figured world of school. To explore this phenomenon, it was necessary to understand the complexity of dyslexia as well as the theoretical underpinnings of identity construction, adolescence, and ―passing as literate.‖ This case study is informed by poststructuralist thought; through this lens I examine how my subjects perceived their worlds and how they negotiated the challenges associated with undiagnosed dyslexia. As they describe their positions in their figured worlds, I search for issues of power, identity and agency around which their lives appear to be organized. The answers to the following research questions were sought: (1) How do adult women who were undiagnosed dyslexic girls reflect upon their negotiations of identity in the figured world of school (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain (1998)? (2) Is there evidence that girls attempt to pass as literate? If so, what types of ―passing‖ attempts and techniques are used by dyslexic adolescent girls to appear more literate? Case study methodology offers the insight provided by detailed narratives of personal experiences. Data was collected by interviews, observations and researcher‘s field notes obtained through the stories of three adult dyslexic women. The data was analyzed for affirming or conflicting themes. The stories were retold in a chronological and thematic pattern describing the participants‘ experiences from different perspectives.


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