ERIC Number: ED452483
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
"What We Are and What We're Not": Early Adolescent Girls Negotiate Their Identities through Talk about Text.
Smith, Sally A.
This paper investigates how a group of sixth grade girls thought about their own agency at a transitional period in their lives, when reading books with strong, independent, realistic female characters. The girls vicariously explored agency as they compared their lives and possibilities with those of novel characteristics. Each of the four novels read provided exploration of their own possibilities, identification with the main character, and explorations of the elements of romance and attraction. The data gathered from conversations with the girls suggest that as adolescent girls struggle to negotiate their identities in the world, their environments need to be structured to provide them with experiences and opportunities that enable them to understand, engage, and potentially transform what limits and harms them. The discussion group provided one possible context for engagement and understanding. The selection of novels with female protagonists allowed these readers to actively position themselves as readers who could explore their questions and emotions to identify with the heroine. Data from the sixth grade girls' after school book club add to a body of research that strongly suggests the importance of providing literature transactions for early adolescent girls that will engage their complex reading purposes. (Contains 34 references.) (JDM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A