Inclusive Book Club: Perspectives of Undergraduate Participants

Shawnna Helf, PhD
    Debra Leach, EdD
    
    Winthrop University

Abstract

We examined undergraduate students’ perceptions of peers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) before and after participating in an inclusive book club on the college campus. Over a six-week period, undergraduate students and students with I/DD enrolled in the post-secondary education program at the university engaged in an inclusive book club that involved coming together once a week for an hour to discuss a piece of literature. Results indicate that the perceptions of the undergraduate students changed as a result of their participation in the book club. Although, prior to the onset of the study, the undergraduates predicted that the students with I/DD would have difficulty with comprehension and participation, at the end of the study they reported that the students with I/DD did not have the difficulties they predicted and were able to successfully participate and contribute to discussions during each book club meeting. Implications of the findings for K-12 learning environments and post-secondary inclusive programs are provided.

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