ERIC Number: ED396302
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Responses of Four Adolescent Females to Adolescent Fiction with Strong Female Characters.
Carico, Kathleen M.
A study examined the effects of a reader response approach to literature in which literature is viewed as a medium for exploration and the effects of such an approach on a group of young women. Subjects of the study were four female middle school students, with the adult female researcher as participant observer. Books chosen for reading/discussion were "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry," (Mildred Taylor) and "Lyddie," (Katherine Paterson). Subjects met for 15 sessions to discuss the books' characters and later for further reflection. Analysis was organized as follows: reading as lived-through experience, reading as social encounter, reading as a literary event, conceptions of female characters, women as connected knowers, and the importance of talk. Information was then categorized as: (1) descriptions of the girls as readers/responders; (2) analysis of their patterns in group interactions; and (3) analysis of the issues that arose as a consequence of the social interactions among the participants. Results indicated that problems were encountered, including talking about others in negative ways, inappropriate language, and hurtful comments. These should be addressed in the classroom by keeping channels of communication open, including students in decisions about conversations, and taking an open look at power and privileges. Findings revealed that life experience mediates responses to literature and books evoke strong emotional responses and provide means for cognitive and emotional growth. Re-imagining literature and re-imagining teachers' roles can be an exploration leading to significant work in understanding. (Contains 16 references.) (CR)
Descriptors: Adolescents, Discourse Communities, Ethnography, Females, Interpersonal Communication, Junior High Schools, Literature Appreciation, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, Participant Observation, Reader Response, Reader Text Relationship, Reading Research, Teacher Role, Womens Education
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aesthetic Reading
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).