Culture of collaboration

An essential component of motivating readers with language disorders


  • Jennifer Whited University of Louisiana at Monroe
  • Jack S. Damico University of Colorado at Boulder



literacy impairment, language disorder, motivation, reading, interactional strategy


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to report the results from a research project which focused on understanding how motivation to read is manifested and maintained in children with learning impairments. The participants were enrolled in a specialized university literacy program with graduate student clinicians.

Method: An interpretative, qualitative study utilizing components of ethnography and microanalysis was employed to analyze video transcripts of recorded therapy sessions of speech-language pathology student clinicians and children with language disorders. These interactions were coded for the nature of their role in motivating children to read.

Results and conclusions: This study revealed that a culture of collaboration was a hallmark of treatment that facilitated motivation in the participants. Two key characteristics of motivated behavior that emerged as a result of this culture of collaboration are identified and described. Additionally, three specific, collaborative, therapeutic strategies found to sustain motivation to read are described.

Author Biographies

Jennifer Whited, University of Louisiana at Monroe

Jennifer Whited, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor and clinical supervisor in the Speech-Language Pathology Program at the University of Louisiana Monroe. She teaches in the areas of literacy impairment and adult neurological disorders. Dr. Whited is the director of the Community Literacy Project at ULM, which is a research project that serves Monroe area students, schools, and parents in supporting individuals with literacy impairments. Dr. Whited’s research interests include literacy impairment, scholarship of teaching and learning, and holistic graduate school admissions.

Jack S. Damico, University of Colorado at Boulder

Jack S. Damico is a clinical linguist and a speech-language pathologist with a master’s degree in communicative disorders and a PhD in linguistics. With over 12 years of clinical experience as a speech-language pathologist in public schools, medical settings, and in private practice, his research focuses on the authentic implications for individuals with atypical language and communication skills, and on the development of clinical applications to assist in overcoming communicative problems. Working primarily in the areas of aphasia in adults and language and literacy difficulties in children from both monolingual and bilingual backgrounds, he specializes in the utilization of various qualitative research methodologies to investigate language and communication as social action. An ASHA Fellow, he is the editor of the Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders. He has recently joined the University of Colorado Boulder faculty after 28 years as the Doris B. Hawthorne Eminent Scholar Chair at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


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How to Cite

Whited, J. ., & Damico, J. S. (2021). Culture of collaboration: An essential component of motivating readers with language disorders. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 11(1), 5–25.