AuthorArmstrong, Mary Starrs
AdvisorShort, Kathy G.
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.
AbstractThis dissertation study examines fourth and fifth grade children's response to nonfiction and biography that was read to them or they read alone or in pairs. The following questions guided the qualitative classroom-based case study: What characteristics of the instructional environment influence response to nonfiction? And How do children respond to nonfiction? Data sources include audiotapes of interviews, interactive read alouds and discussions, student artifacts, journals and field notes. The findings from this research demonstrate that an instructional environment in which a variety of fiction and nonfiction resources were available and accessible, where sharing of thoughts and ideas is invited, and in which reading aloud and demonstrating response possibilities occurs, positively affects individual inquiry, continuing exploration and sustained response to nonfiction. Creating an instructional environment where response to nonfiction is invited and supported holds promise for a multitude of responses and for individual, passionate inquiry. Learners thrive in an environment where nonfiction is regarded as more than a repository for facts to be extracted and reported on. When the potential of response to nonfiction is recognized, embraced and supported, students respond in powerful and personal ways. In this study, children responded to nonfiction and biography by documenting facts and retelling information, expressing emotions, feelings, opinions and values, asking questions, telling stories and recalling memories, making generalizations and intertextualizing with other texts. Additional findings from the research demonstrate that individual students respond to nonfiction in varied and often unique and idiosyncratic ways. Different response patterns for each child coalesced into a response style based on the students' preferences and experiences as readers and thinkers. By acknowledging response style of students and challenging them to go beyond a single mode or manner of response, teachers can assist children in developing a repertoire of response to nonfiction. A response repertoire can provide learners with a guide and opportunities to express themselves as they grow and develop into engaged, thoughtful readers. Finally, this study demonstrated the significance of response to nonfiction as a pathway to engage, enhance and enrich the lives of fourth and fifth graders.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture