ERIC Number: ED362298
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Gender Equity in Picture Books in Preschool Classrooms: An Exploratory Study.
Patt, Michelle B.; McBride, Brent A.
A study examined the frequency with which males and females are represented in picture books available in preschool classrooms. Three areas were examined: pronoun usage and gender of characters; the frequency of gender-neutral pronouns and characters; and written text compared to teachers' wording when reading aloud. The study involved 11 head and assistant teachers and 4 student teachers in 4 preschool classrooms in a university-affiliated child care facility. Data were collected through an examination of 129 classroom books, observation of teachers during 52 story sessions, and questionnaires to determine how the teachers chose books for the classroom and how they changed the text when reading aloud. Study findings included the following: (1) in library corner books, male characters appeared 1.8 times as frequently as females, with females comprising only 22% of the sample; (2) masculine pronouns were used as generics 3.4 times as frequently as female pronouns; (3) books read aloud by teachers demonstrated similar representations of male and female characters; and (4) questionnaire responses suggested that gender-biased language may not be a primary consideration for teachers in choosing books. The effects of books' use of predominantly masculine characters and language can be detrimental to girls' gender role socialization. Teachers can ameliorate these effects by choosing and reading books with a balance of male and female characters and by altering wording to improve this balance. (AC)
Descriptors: Characterization, Childrens Literature, Content Analysis, Language Patterns, Oral Interpretation, Picture Books, Preschool Education, Preschool Teachers, Reading Aloud to Others, Reading Material Selection, Sex Bias, Sex Role, Sexism in Language, Socialization, Story Reading, Young Children
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Atlanta, GA, April 12-16, 1993).