Gender differences in reader response entries to female main characters
Dixon, Robin M.
University of Kansas
Curriculum and Instruction
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This research study was designed to explore the differences in responses given by fourth grade males and females to dominate female characters in literature. Rosenblatt's theory of reader stance was used in designing the research questions. These were: 1) Do efferent and aesthetic responses to literature with female main characters differ between males and females? and 2) Do personal levels of understanding of literature with female main characters differ between males and females? Subjects listened to three literature selections with female main characters and then responded in writing to a given prompt. Responses were then scored using two continuums. The first assessed how efferently or aesthetically subjects responded to the literature. The second continuum evaluated the personal level of understanding reached by the subjects. Statistically significant gender differences were not found with regards to either research question. Males and females both responded at nearly a primarily aesthetic stance. Over 70% of the total responses came from the most aesthetic end of the continuum. Both genders were able to reach a level of personal understanding indicative of subjects beginning to interpret the events of the story. A significant finding did result when examining efferent/aesthetic responses given by male and fem ale subjects as a whole. It was found that subjects responded significantly higher to the literature selection, Anastasia Krupnik than to the literature selection, Addie Across the Prairie
M.S. Ed. University of Kansas, Curriculum and Instruction 1996
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