AuthorSledge, Andrea Celine
AdvisorValmont, William J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPrior research has concerned the school as a cultural system and the early development of children's concepts about reading and about print. This descriptive research study explored concepts which bridged these two areas by investigating the defining, categorizing and labeling of the cognitive domain of books by sixth-grade children. The specific purpose of this study was to identify the nature of the concept of "book," the categories applied to the cognitive domain of books, the labels subsumed under these categories, and the attributes of these categories. It was assumed that books comprised a cognitive domain for sixth-grade children and that this cognitive domain was accessed via the vocabulary employed to categorize and label it. The data were elicited by an interview schedule which included questions concerning words associated with the term "book," criteria for selecting books, important features of and similarities among books, explanations of the concept of "book," and the various kinds of books known to each respondent. Additional data, relative to the hierarchical organizations of the kinds of books named by the subjects, were elicited by a card sort procedure; subjects grouped and regrouped cards with the kinds of books elcited by the interview schedule until all of the cards were in one group. Two samples of upper middle class sixth-grade children, who had not yet entered the seventh grade, were the subjects (N = 23 and N = 18, respectively). One sample completed the interview schedule and the card sort procedure; the other cross-validating sample completed the card sort procedure only. In addition to myriad findings, the following were the most appropriate generalizations from findings. (1) Sixth-grade children view reading as an active and responsive process, in which the reader engages in a dialog with the author which begins with reader expectancies and purposes. (2) Although sixth-grade children participate in the same culture, the school, it cannot be inferred that they share similar cognitive maps for the domain of books. Their categorizing, defining and labeling of books do not reflect a shared meaning system. Rather, quite individualistic systems of rules for the organization of this domain are apparent. Studies of children's reading interests may reflect general predispositions of particular groups, rather than strong preferences. (3) The definitions of books formulated by sixth-grade children are descriptive rather than generic or synonomous in character. (4) Sixth-grade children have salient individual taxonomies of the cognitive domain of books. However, it appears that they do not have one, shared, salient folk taxonomy of the cognitive domain of books. The only salient, shared categories of books were fiction, non-fiction and mystery, along with their subsumed labels. (5) The methodology of ethnoscience demonstrates potential for the study of readers and reading in cultural contexts. One implication for reading instruction arising from the findings of this study is the following: Because sixth-grade children categorize the cognitive domain of books in quite an individualistic manner, it is suggested that the selection and recommendation of reading material should be guided by a child's individual interests rather than by lists generated by reading interests research.
Degree ProgramGraduate College