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Title:An Investigation of the Use of Children's Nonfiction-Informational Trade Books in Selected Fourth-, Fifth-, and Sixth-Grade Classrooms in Illinois
Author(s):Robertson, Ina Herbrig
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Abstract:Statement of the Problem. Elementary-school classroom teachers have been encouraged by textbook authors, educational authorities, and publications from professional educational organizations to use a wide variety of materials including supplementary children's nonfiction-informational trade books for instruction in all areas of the curriculum; however, little documentation has existed to describe how teachers are using these materials in their instructional plans. This study (a) investigated use of children's nonfiction-informational trade books in fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade classrooms in selected schools in Illinois from August through December, 1979, and (b) identified factors which influenced or did not influence use of these books in classrooms.
Methodology. A stratified sampling plan was used to select school districts from which teachers were chosen. Elementary school districts within a 60 mile radius from the geographical center of the State of Illinois were selected and stratified by pupil enrollment. Forty-five districts were selected and letters were mailed to superintendents explaining the survey and requesting the names of fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade teachers willing to participate. In January, 1980, 450 questionnaires were mailed. A total of 322 questionnaires were returned. Of these, 307 were usable, tabulated and analyzed. The returned questionnaires included 111 from fourth-grade teachers, 101 from fifth-grade teachers, and 95 from sixth-grade teachers.
Personal interviews comprised the second phase of this study. Five teachers who returned the questionnaires and indicated they used the books frequently and five teachers who indicated they used the books infrequently were selected for interviews.
The questionnaire and interview questions were designed to answer the seven major research questions of the study. Teacher responses were analyzed both quantitively and qualitatively. A computer program was used to obtain frequency counts, percentage responses, and cross-tabulations of variables.
Findings. The major findings of the study were: (1) Teachers used nonfiction-informational trade books more frequently in teaching social studies than in any other subject area. (2) Teachers used nonfiction-informational books more frequently for research reports and free-choice reading than for any other purpose. (3) Teachers became aware of nonfiction-information trade books through teachers' manuals or curriculum guides and school librarians. (4) Teachers obtained these books from their personal collections or the school libraries. (5) No statistically significant relationships were determined between trade book usage and: educational background of teacher; number of years of teaching; teacher completion of courses in children's literature; teacher completion of method courses in reading, language arts, science, mathematics; classroom organization; classroom enrollment; school district enrollment; presence of school library and the teaching of social studies, reading, language arts, mathematics; and teacher's satisfaction with school library. Statistically significant positive relationships were determined between trade book usage in social studies and teacher completion of method courses in social studies and between trade book usage in science and presence of school library. (6) Teachers suggested more books would be used if more books were available, more information were available on the books, more library time and greater access to the library were permitted. Teachers suggested more books would be used if more time were available, classes were reduced in size, and less emphasis were placed on covering textbooks. (7) In personal interviews, the majority of teachers viewed trade books as supplemental and felt a need to cover textbooks.
Issue Date:1980
Description:227 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8028598
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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