Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Donna Barnes, PhD, Director; James Flood, PhD; Evelyn Hanssen, PhD


children & youth, discussion, education, literacy, literature, occupational attitudes, reading, sixth grade students, sex stereotypes, women


There is considerable evidence that children develop stereotyped attitudes early in life and that these attitudes affect their futures. Many researchers agree that children's attitudes can be influenced by what they read and some studies have shown that attitudes can be changed by exposure to selected literature. This study focused on a group of sixth grade children reading selected short stories and novels with female main characters. Literature discussion groups and written journals were used to facilitate response. The clays was racially and socioeconomically mixed as a result of busing through the Voluntary Ethnic Enrollment and Magnet Programs. The class of thirty students had been divided into three homogeneous groups by the classroom teacher with the focus group comprised of six boys and four girls. Only one group's responses were analyzed, though all students participated in the study and were unaware of which group was chosen. The literature response groups and reader response journals were components of the study. The children were not informed about the theme of the study. The selected literature was studied as a normal part of the curriculum. This research incorporated both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to try to ascertain any effect the intervention might have on the children. The Attitudes Toward Women Scale for Adolescents, a questionnaire in Likert-scale format was used as a pre and post measure. The entire class participated in the tests and all of the students' data was used in the analysis. An additional questionnaire, The Brooks Occupational Survey, Revised was used only as a post measure for informational purposes. Flood and Lapp's Coding System for Analyzing Literary Discussion, was used to analyze transcripts of the discussion groups and the written journals. The results of this study indicate that the children did speak about the topic, as they limited the majority of their responses to the text. There was significant progress in the discussion groups and the students became more engaged in the literature. The teacher decreased the amount of her direction and participation in the group as the students took the initiative regarding the direction of the discussion and their participation increased. The post tests indicated a more flexible and open attitude toward women.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access