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Title:The role of culture in children's response to literature
Author(s):Sinha, Shobha
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mason, Jana M.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:This study attempted to describe elementary grade children's response to texts from a variety of cultures. The focus was to examine the role that culture played in children's response. Additionally, it sought to examine the notions of cultural familiarity and its effect on response. The study was a qualitative investigation conducted in a culturally diverse school. There were both European-American and African-American children as well as international children. The children ranged from 9-11 years. The teachers used multicultural literature in the classroom. For each reading group, an attempt was made to observe the instruction of three types of texts (European-American, African-American, and Asian-American). Following observation of reading and discussion, interviews with both teachers and children were conducted focusing on children's response to the text. Interviews were semi-structured with opportunity for open-ended responses. Children were asked whether they liked the text or not and why, what they had in common with the text, and what they found easy or difficult about the text and why. The data was analyzed using a constant-comparative approach to delineate themes and patterns as well as areas of variation. The results showed that children's response was not only a factor of culture in a one-dimensional manner but was affected by the multifaceted aspects of literature (e.g., genre, and style). Culture was embedded in these features. There was a deep complexity in the response. The interest level, the identification with culture depicted in the text and the difficulty level of the text were not necessarily interconnected. As far as the notion of cultural familiarity was concerned, children did not necessarily classify themselves, and the texts on the basis of ethnicity. Their understanding of culture was very fluid in nature. Therefore, cultural familiarity with a text could not be assumed in a rigid manner.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Sinha, Shobha
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9624500
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9624500

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