A research study that included two distinct parts was developed and implemented with the goal of identifying research-based promising and best practices in reading instruction within Florida''s juvenile correctional facilities. The first part was an evaluative case study that described the functions of the Juvenile Justice Educational Enhancement Program (JJEEP). Part Two of the study utilized "meta-synthesis," a technique developed by the researcher to synthesize studies that addressed literacy instruction for adolescents at-risk, particularly those who were incarcerated. The analysis of the results of the meta-synthesis indicated that the substantive and pedagogical factors that influence the effectiveness of literacy instruction for adolescents at-risk include the mindful interaction among reader, text, teacher, and context as well as an emphasis on variety, engagement, relevance and resiliency. The overwhelming evidence produced by the meta-synthesis demands a strength-based approach to literacy instruction that recognizes and respects the often hidden abilities of at risk, incarcerated students.