Informal learning spaces, such as summer reading programs, have the potential to both motivate children and provide opportunities for preservice teachers to try out new practices. However, there is little research on the talk that occurs in these informal learning spaces, particularly those intended to function as third spaces. Audio recordings of meetings between preservice teachers and high school students talking together about young adult literature in a space intended to function as a third space were analyzed to explore how discourse choices shaped the participants' practices. We found that the participants both resisted and reproduced the traditional classroom in their talk, suggesting that the successful design of third spaces is a complex endeavor.


Discourse Analysis, Classroom Talk, Informal Learning, Reading Groups

Author Bio(s)

Jessica Nina Lester is an Assistant Professor of Inquiry Methodology at Indiana University. She teaches research methods courses, with much of her research focused on the study and development of qualitative methodologies and methods. Her research is situated within discourse studies and disability studies, with a particular focus on education and mental health contexts. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Jessica Nina Lester at, Indiana University, Dept. of Counseling and Educational Psychology, 201 North Rose Avenue, 4060; Bloomington, IN, USA, 47405-1006; Phone: (812) 856-8328; E-mail: jnlester@indiana.edu

Currently a classroom teacher, Lisa Scherff previously taught literacy education at the University of Tennessee, the University of Alabama, and Florida State University. Her research interests include teacher preparation and development and student–teacher discussions of young adult literature. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Lisa Scherff at, Estero High School, 21900 River Ranch Road, Estero, FL, 33928; Phone: (239) 481-2233; E-mail: ElisaAS@leeschools.net

Trena M. Paulus is a Professor of Qualitative Research Methods at the University of Georgia. Her areas of research include digital tools for qualitative research, language-based research methods for investigating online interaction, and collaborative qualitative inquiry. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Trena M. Paulus at, University of Georgia, Qualitative Research Program 850 College Station Drive, 310 River’s Crossing, Athens, GA 30602; Phone: (706) 542-2214; E-mail: tpaulus@uga.edu

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.