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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An exploratory study of kindergarten children's critical response to literature during group storybook reading Palmer, Marlene


It is now well known that linguistically interactive experiences with stories during the preschool years develop the child's knowledge about written language, along with abilities to construct meaning from literary forms of language. Storytime as a literacy activity in school is just beginning to be explored. It appears that there are ways of eliciting and interpreting children's implicit responses to stories which positively affect their thinking, understanding, and sensitivity about literature. In turn, these responses strengthen the foundation of the kind of critical reading abilities necessary for the continuation of literacy development. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a teacher reading selected books and practicing specific teacher interaction behaviors during group storytime would increase the critical responses about literature from a group of children. A pretest-posttest nonequivalent group design was used. Subjects were two intact groups of upper middle class kindergarten children who attended either morning or afternoon sessions in the same school with the same teacher. The researcher read the treatment group ten different stories, one per day, over the period of ten days. During this time, the researcher practiced specific teacher interaction behaviors with the group. For the same period of time, the researcher read random books to the nontreatment group and did not practice specific teacher interaction behaviors. The comments and questions arising from three pretest storytimes and three posttest storytimes for each group were coded according to an author-adapted matrix instrument composed of ten literary elements and four levels of knowledge. The children in the treatment group gave significantly more critical responses than the children in the nontreatment group. Qualitative observations during the study indicated the need to develop means of identifying and evaluating behaviors of both teachers and children related to literature and literacy learning.

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