Book Selections of Economically Disadvantaged Black Students

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Copyright 2005 by Lunetta Marie Williams


iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS During my work on this study I was ble ssed by the wisdom and support of many people. I am grateful to all who gave their time, encouragement, and love. My committee members continued to furt her my thinking and assist me through various challenges during the dissertation process. I extend deep gratitude to Dr. Richard Allington, who continuously and patiently met with me and helped me think outside of the box, often inserting humor to assist me in keeping things in perspective. A gratitude of a special kind is owed to Dr. Anne McG ill-Franzen, who encouraged me and offered valuable input that extended my thinking. The idea of this study originated during my first semester of doctoral work when taking one of Dr. McGill-Franzen Â’s courses. After she and Dr. Allington recognized my passion for this study, they were always looking for opportunities that would help me pursue my intere st. They allowed me to be a part of a research grant that was an invaluable experience and provided the platform through which this study could be conducted. I wish to especially thank Dr. Linda Lamme, who kindly guided my thinking with insightful que stions and was always willing to give her time and expertise. Her interest in the popul ation of this study and depth of knowledge about book selections were most beneficial. I also wish to thank Dr. Morgan Pigg, who asked thoughtful questions, provided an imme nse amount of encouragement, and took a genuine interest in my well-being. To my friends who continued to be by my side during this pr oject, I give my sincere appreciation and thanks. Michelle, Ka thi, and Liza were c onstant supporters and


iv lifted me up through phone calls, em ails, and letters. Jennifer Graff, a research assistant on the grant from which this study stemmed, responded to many emails and phone calls about data needed for this study and continuously provided any help needed. I thank her. To Jacqueline Love-Zeig, Courtney Zmach, Ka tie Solic, and Evan Lefsky, who were also research assistants, I say thank you for helpi ng me think through this study and gather data. Very special thanks go to my family. My dad, Charles Williams, and mom, Linda Williams, continued to encourage me through the dissertation process. The love that they showered upon me was invaluable and brought me through the most challenging parts of the study. They have always emphasized the value of education and encouraged me to establish high goals for which I am thankful. My brother, Chris, was always there for me when I needed help. I called him numerous times to bounce off ideas, and he consistently listened to and encouraged me. He is an exceptional brother, and I thank him so much for his support through my doctora l work. Justine, my sister in law, continued to be interested in my study and offer an ear when needed, and I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to her.


v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES...........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY.............................................................................1 Problem........................................................................................................................ .2 Rationale for the Study.................................................................................................2 Definition of Terms......................................................................................................3 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.......................................................................................5 Records of Book Selections..........................................................................................5 Interviews..................................................................................................................... 9 Summary.....................................................................................................................13 3 THE STUDY..............................................................................................................15 ResearcherÂ’s Perspective............................................................................................17 Context of the Study...................................................................................................17 Description of the S ites and Participants.............................................................18 Description of a Typical Book Fair.....................................................................19 Description of Book Access................................................................................22 Role of the Researcher and Assistant.........................................................................24 Participants.................................................................................................................24 Data Sources...............................................................................................................27 StudentsÂ’ 15 Book Selections..............................................................................27 StudentsÂ’ Spontaneous Talk during Book Selections..........................................27 StudentsÂ’ Talk during Interv iews after Book Selections.....................................29 Refining the Questions........................................................................................30 Transcribing StudentsÂ’ Talk during Interviews after Book Selections...............32 Reflective Notes..................................................................................................32 Data Collection Procedures........................................................................................33 Before Book Selections.......................................................................................33


vi During Book Selections.......................................................................................35 After Book Selections..........................................................................................36 Data Analysis Procedures...........................................................................................36 StudentsÂ’ 15 Book Selections..............................................................................37 StudentsÂ’ Talk during an d after Book Selections................................................37 Validity....................................................................................................................... 39 Reliability...................................................................................................................3 9 4 FINDINGS..................................................................................................................41 Common Book Selections..........................................................................................41 Common Book Selections According to Gender................................................44 Summary of Common Book Selections..............................................................49 StudentsÂ’ Spontaneous Talk During Book Selections................................................49 Topic....................................................................................................................51 Series...................................................................................................................55 Fictional Characters.............................................................................................56 Media...................................................................................................................58 Genre...................................................................................................................60 Summary of StudentsÂ’ Spontaneous Talk during Book Selections.....................61 StudentsÂ’ Talk During Interviews...............................................................................61 StudentsÂ’ Descriptions of Selected Books...........................................................63 Topic....................................................................................................................63 Series...................................................................................................................65 Fictional Characters.............................................................................................66 Genre...................................................................................................................67 Sources of Familiarity with Selected Books......................................................68 Media...................................................................................................................68 Other People........................................................................................................70 Read Before.........................................................................................................74 Life Experience...................................................................................................75 Book Features......................................................................................................76 Summary of StudentsÂ’ Ta lk during Interviews...................................................78 5 CONCLUSIONS........................................................................................................80 What Books Did Particip ants Commonly Select?......................................................80 Why Did Participants Se lect Certain Books?.............................................................85 Relevance for Literacy................................................................................................88 Implications................................................................................................................94 Limitations..................................................................................................................96 Further Research.........................................................................................................96


vii APPENDIX A STUDENT BOOK ORDER FORM...........................................................................98 B BOOKS AVAILABLE AT THE BOOK FAIR.........................................................99 C TRANSCRIPTION CODES.....................................................................................114 D INTERVIEW PROTOCOL......................................................................................115 E BEFORE BOOK SELECTION PROTOCOL..........................................................117 F ANALYSIS CODES FOR STUDENTSÂ’ TALK.....................................................118 G DESCRIPTIONS OF THE 20 MOST SELECTED BOOKS*.................................120 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................124 CHILDRENÂ’S BOOK REFERENCES...........................................................................131 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................134


viii LIST OF TABLES Table page 3.1 Number of Participants by Gende r for Each Level or Sub-level.............................27 4.1 The Top 20 Book Titles of Level A and Sub-level B Participants...........................42 4.2 Fiction Book Titles within Sub-level B ParticipantsÂ’ Top 20 List According to Gender......................................................................................................................46 4.3 Nonfiction Book Titles with in Sub-level B ParticipantsÂ’ Top 20 List According to Gender..................................................................................................................48 4.4 Topics Frequently Mentioned am ong Sub-level B Boys and Girls.........................52 4.5 Series Frequently Mentioned am ong Sub-level B Boys and Girls...........................56 4.6 Fictional Characters Frequently Men tioned among Sub-level B Boys and Girls....57 4.7 Books Frequently Connected to Medi a among Sub-level B Boys and Girls...........58 4.8 Genre Frequently Mentioned among Sub-level B Boys and Girls...........................60 4.9 Topics Frequently Mentioned am ong Sub-level C Boys and Girls.........................63 4.10 Fictional Characters Frequently Men tioned among Sub-level C Boys and Girls....66 4.11 Genres Frequently Mentioned am ong Sub-level C Boys and Girls.........................67 4.12 Book Titles Frequently Familiar th rough a Media Source among Sub-level C Boys and Girls..........................................................................................................69 4.13 Other People Assisting in Familiarity of Books among Sub-level C Boys and Girls.......................................................................................................................... 71


ix Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy BOOK SELECTIONS OF ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED BLACK STUDENTS By Lunetta Marie Williams May 2005 Chair: Richard L. Allington Cochair: Anne McGill-Franzen Major Department: Teaching and Learning The purpose of this study was to identify books commonly selected by economically disadvantaged Black students and explore the reasons pa rticipants offered for choosing certain books. Approximately 300 elementary students self-selected books in a book fair setting that offered more than 400 books and allowed students to own 12 of their selections. One data source, student sÂ’ book selections, was used to provide descriptive data such as genre and various aspects of the cove rs of the 20 most frequently selected books. Participants commonly sel ected fiction and seri es books, as well as books reflecting their everyday cu lture. Gender differences were also examined in this data. Girl participants were as likely as boy participants to select nonfiction books. Two data sources consisting of studentsÂ’ spontane ous talk while making their book selections and studentsÂ’ responses duri ng individual semi-structured interviews after selections were used to construct a grounded theory about why participan ts chose their books. The


x theory that emerged from the data was stude ntsÂ’ descriptions of their book selections were influenced by sources of familiarity. A common thread within the descriptions and sources of familiarity was the everyday culture of students. Often students knew about books due to the influence of the media a nd mass marketing that permeated studentsÂ’ everyday culture, and, as a result, impacted book selections. Furthermore, participants often formed communities around the books that re flected this aspect of everyday culture. In order for students to be motivated to read on their own, books that interest them must be accessible. This study found that books re flecting studentsÂ’ everyday culture could stimulate studentsÂ’ motivation.


1 CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY The 2003 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reported that economically disadvantaged Black students are disproportionately low-achieving. Fourth-grade Black studentsÂ’ and economically disadvantaged studentsÂ’ average reading scale scores on the 2003 NAEP have improve d since the beginning years of their analyses, 1992 and 1998 respectively. Howeve r, there remains an approximate 30 point achievement gap between Black and White st udents as well as between economically disadvantaged and advantaged students (Nati onal Center for Education Statistics, 2003). While federal, state, and local agencies ha ve initiated a number of educational programs and policies to address this achievement gap, fostering en hanced voluntary reading has not typically been one of the strategies initiated. Enhancing voluntary reading among economi cally disadvantaged Black students is an imperative aspect of solving this reading achievement gap dilemma. Allington (2001) argued that the sole act of reading is infl uential in developing readers who can read fluently, accurately, and with comprehe nsion. The 2000 NAEP revealed hundreds of correlational studies which found that successf ul readers simply read more (Donahue, Finnegan, Lutkus, Allen, and Campbell, 2001). Furthermore, Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988) discovered that students eventually lost academic ground when they did not read during their free time, even those not initially labeled as remedial readers.


2 Problem As voluntary reading can increa se studentsÂ’ reading achiev ement, it is important to know the kinds of books that would motivat e students, particularly economically disadvantaged Black students, to read. This study identified books selected voluntarily by economically disadvantaged Black students and explored the reasons participants offered for choosing certain books. Two ques tions guided this study: (1) What books do economically disadvantaged Black students co mmonly select to own in a setting that allows them to choose from approximately 400 specific books? and (2) Why did these participants select certain books? Rationale for the Study Considering that many students obtain books from the school or classroom library (Fleener, Morrison, Linek, & Rasinski, 1997; Krashen, 1993; Lamme, 1976), particularly those who are economically disadvantaged (Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999), it is imperative that educators discover what students enjoy reading so that there is access to these materials at school. Research studies that examine the books students self-select offer valuable insight into the kinds of read ing material that woul d encourage voluntary reading. The books that are offered to participants, however, impact the findings immensely. The setting of ma ny book selection studies has b een the classroom or school library, a context that often does not offer books that truly interest students (Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). Furthermore, few studies have gathered data from participants about why they chose their books. Typically, researchers analyzed what students selected and then inferred why they selected books. These inferences could misrepresent why students truly chose books, thus misguiding educat ors who are trying to make books available that will foster vol untary reading. There is not a substantial


3 research base to discuss data patterns among va rious groups such as children from certain socioeconomic status (SES) groups or minority groups in studies that examine students’ book selections. It is imperative that st udents from varying ba ckgrounds, particularly those who are often labeled as low-achievi ng readers, are include d in book selection studies to gain further insi ght about the kinds of books that would encourage them to voluntarily read. Participants in book selection studies have rarely been able to own the books that they chose. The idea of owning wh at was selected may provide further insight into what students would actually read. This research study attempted to provide an extensive look at the book choices of economically disadvantaged Black students in a book fair setting that offered a wide range of books and allowed participants to ow n 12 of their book selections. Additionally, this study explored reasons why students made certain choices. Definition of Terms For clarity, the following terms are defined according to their use in this study. Black students are determined by the district’s data base records within the race category which includes but is not limited to African American ethnicity. Book intervention group is the sample of students in a longitudinal, experimental study, “Minimizing Summer Reading Loss among Poor Children” (Allington & McGillFranzen, 2001), who received 12 books at th e end of three consecutive school years. Economically disadvantaged students are those who are qualified, according to the district’s database records, for free or reduced meals. Genre is a type or kind of book (Tunnell & Jacobs, 2000). Selection/Choice are terms that I use interchangeably and refer to the action of receiving one book instead of another (Weintraub, 1969).


4 Series are books with a continuous character, format, and/or setting (Meekins & Wolinski, 2003).


5 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE This study gained insight about the book se lections of economically disadvantaged Black students by identifying which books a sample of students commonly chose and exploring the reasons that participants offered for selecti ng certain books. In this chapter, I review studies that examined studentsÂ’ book selections. First, I present studies that collected data through records generated by th e student, teacher, or researcher. Next, I discuss studies that included interviews with participants about why they selected certain books. I mention the source of studentsÂ’ book selections and the socioeconomic status and race of the participants for each study if this information was provided in the article. Records of Book Selections Researchers have examined what students like to read through records of book selections. Data from such studies are typically collected from reviewing the records of what books students have selected from th e classroom library, school library, or collection of books that the researcher provides. Approximately 500 fourthand sixth-grad e students completed a free-reading log for 5 weeks in a study conducted by Anders on, Higgins, and Wurster (1985). The researchers analyzed the books according to 11 content topics and discovered that students most often selected books that incl uded tall tale and fantasy content. Another study that examined studentsÂ’ free-reading logs consisted of 60 low socioeconomic second-graders, most of whom were Mexican-American (Martinez, Roser, Worthy, Strecker, & Gough, 1997). Th is studyÂ’s researchers analyzed what


6 students selected from their classroom libra ries that included more than 200 books of varying levels and topics. Findings demonstrat ed that students were one and a half times more likely to select books that had been read aloud by the teacher. Fourth-grade participants (n=25) in a study conducted by Henry (1992) selected books to read for free-reading time from the classroom library. The library contained approximately 300 trade books, 40 public lib rary books, books of varying levels, magazines, and reference books. During a peri od of 10 weeks, Henry found that students most often selected fiction books and books recommended by their peers. Boys chose books including adventure, scien ce fiction, and sports more ofte n than girls. Books with love and emotion were selected mo re frequently by girls than boys. Simpson (1996) noted the books that 30 middle to lower socioeconomic students aged 10 through 12 borrowed from the library for 30 weeks. Although participants more often selected fiction books than nonfiction books, boys were more likely than girls to select a nonfiction book. When selecting a nonfiction book, girls most often chose books about horses or other animals. Boys were more likely to choose books about motorbikes, sports, and cars. In another study that exam ined an unstated number of firstthrough sixth-grade studentsÂ’ librar y book selections for 3 years, the researcher similarly discovered that students more often select ed fiction books (Doiron, 2003). Additionally, boys more frequently selected nonfiction books than girls. Laumbach (1994) also conducted a study that analyzed studentsÂ’ book selections at the school library. She discovered that 25 Hispanic fifth-graders mo st frequently selected mystery books and books about animals. Additionally, girls often chose preteen books in serial format.


7 Researchers recorded books that 45 mi ddle socioeconomic White first graders selected for one school year. They examined the books according to their status as fiction or nonfiction (Wiberg & Trost, 1970). Stude nts chose fiction books significantly more than nonfiction books, and boys selected nonfic tion books more often than girls. Additionally, researchers analyzed the conten t of books and found the following: (1) both boys and girls most frequently chose books with inanimate obj ects and animals as characters; (2) boys most often chose books with boy activities; (3 ) most of the books that girls selected did not significantly differ with representation of boy and girl activities; (4) girls most of ten selected books about pets; and (5) boys most frequently chose books about pranks and information. Zimet and Camp (1974) compared the 14 most selected books from the previous study with the 14 books that 152 low socioec onomic Black first-grade students most often chose from their school library during one academic y ear. Participants in Zimet and CampÂ’s study similarly selected signifi cantly more fiction than nonfiction books. The researchers coded the 28 books according to content and reported similarities and differences between the two samplesÂ’ selecti ons. Most of the books frequently selected in both studies included a make-believe theme, help as the outcome of the story, and boy activities. On the other hand, books most of ten selected by middle socioeconomic White students typically included char acters of an unclear race b ecause they were animals or inanimate objects, and White characters were usually included in the books that low socioeconomic Black students chose. Sims (1983) reported that about 7% of the childrenÂ’s trade books published between 1962 and 1964 included at least one Black character. Approximately 14% of all childrenÂ’s books publishe d between 1973 and 1975,


8 the time of this study included one or more Bl ack characters. Partic ipants in Zimet and Camp’s study were probably not offered many books with Black characters, or characters of any other skin tone besides White. A nother difference between the two groups’ most frequently selected books included the agen t of help. Middle socioeconomic White students’ most frequently select ed books included an animal as the agent of help, whereas the books that low socioeconomic Black stude nts most often chose consisted of more than one agent of help or self-help. Hiebert and colleagues (1990) reported on an unspecified number of secondgraders who chose from a collection of tw o “’popular’ books that might be found in a supermarket” (p. 760), two cla ssics, and a textbook. Students most often selected the two books that might be found in a supermarket. One of the books incl uded a character who had recently appeared on a television special during the research project. Robinson and colleagues (1997) also provide d participants with a predetermined selection of books. Researchers stocked two preschool and two kindergarten classrooms with 40 picture books consisting of Caldecott nominees, titles recommended by children’s literature experts, and pict ure books commonly included on major vendors’ lists. Additionally, the books equally repres ented one of five genres: (1) alphabetnumber; (2) information; (3) realistic ficti on; (4) traditional fantasy; and (5) modern fantasy. To indicate students’ familiarity with books, parents completed a survey to indicate if the child owned or had previ ously read any one of the 40 picture books. Students were able to select one of the books to take home daily over a period of 7 weeks. The majority of the participants we re White. Approximately 60% of the students came from a low socioeconomic background, and the remaining participants represented


9 a middle socioeconomic background. Researchers analyzed the books that the 102 participants selected and discovered that students most often selected books that (1) represented both fantasy genres; (2) were Caldecott nominees; and (3) were familiar. No significant differences occurred am ong gender or socioeconomic background. Interviews “Knowledge is constructed through the inte raction of intervie wer and interviewee roles” when conducting interviews (Kvale, 1996). Some of the more recent studies that examine students’ book selections include interviews that allow students to state why they chose certain books. It seems as though researchers of book selection studies often take what students choose to read and infer why they read them. Interview data decrease the likelihood that the voices of researchers overshadow thos e of students when trying to understand why books were selected. Researchers of one book selection study sele cted 40 matched pairs of hardback and softback trade book versions (Campbell, Griswold, & Smith, 1988) and asked 773 secondthrough fifth-grade students to choos e one book and explain why they chose the book. Students significantly preferred soft back trade books over hardback. White students, who consisted of a pproximately two-thirds of the sample, chose paperback versions more often than Black students who re presented about one-third of participants. Students’ reasons for book selections included the following: (1) t ype of book or topic; (2) previous direct experience; (3) physical appearance; (4) influence of TV and movies; (5) knowledge of author and/or illustrator; (6 ) recommendations from peers or adults; (7) other reasons; and (8) no response. Particip ants most often identified a specific type of book or topic, such as adventure or anim al. A previous direct experience with a book closely followed as a reason for book selection.


10 Two teachers in CastanedaÂ’s (1995) study st ocked their classroom libraries with approximately 300 books which third-grade st udents could select from during their reading time. Books represented a variety of genre and topics. Additionally, these classroom libraries offered books from commercial literature kits and were included on a previous International Reading Associati onÂ’s ChildrenÂ’s Choices list. During one semester, 50 low socioeconomic Hispanic partic ipants recorded titles of classroom library books that they read. Castaneda categorized book titles by genre and found that students, regardless of gender, most of ten read realistic fiction, fantasy, and folk tales. Additionally, students discussed why they sel ected particular books during interviews. Responses were categorized according to the fo llowing influences: (1) teacher; (2) peer; (3) parent; (4) researcher; (5) principal; (6) students themselves (self-initiated); and (7) other. Most often, boy and girl par ticipants selected books because of teacher influence. One studyÂ’s participants responded to 31 questions about th eir book selections during individual interviews (Fleener, Morris on, Linek, & Rasinski, 1997). Most of the questions asked the 32 fiftha nd sixth-grade students from varying socioeconomic levels to assign degrees of importance, based upon a four-point scale, to various book selection aspects. Findings indicated that students heavily relied on a b ookÂ’s surface features, particularly a bookÂ’s cover, leng th, illustrations, and jacket de scriptions. Girls were more likely than boys to rely upon a bookÂ’s cover a nd jacket description wh en selecting books. Boys more frequently selected books because of their length than girls. Additional findings demonstrated that students often selected books because they were recommended by teachers, peers, and family members other than mothers and fathers. Boys and girls similarly mentioned choos ing books because of teacher and friend


11 recommendations. Girls were more likely than boys to select a book based upon a recommendation from a family member. Students in Lysaker’s (1997) study were provided access to eight book crates of trade books in the classroom’s reading corn er. The researcher conducted 12 weekly interviews with 6 lower to middle socioec onomic White first-grade participants about why they selected books during free-reading time in their classroom. Interview responses were coded according to the following four cat egories: (1) physical characteristics of books; (2) personal interest; (3) social connec tions; and (4) efficacy and task value. Lysaker found that about half of the code d verbal responses related to efficacy expectation and task value or the expectation for reading suc cess and a desire to want to learn to read. Between 10% and 20% of the responses were coded with the other three categories, indicating that students placed less va lue on these reasons for selecting books. Reutzel and Gali (1998) examined why student s in first-, third, and fifth-grades chose books during three scheduled school library times. The researchers collected data by attaching each of the 18 participants to a wireless microphone with remote receivers that sent audio signals to a movie camcor der and a cassette recorder. As students browsed the library for a book, they talked a bout what they were doing and why. After five seconds of not talking into the microphone, a researcher prompted students to talk about their actions. The researchers disc overed that three codes accounted for about three-fourths of students’ reasons for book se lections: (1) topic; (2) value; and (3) physical characteristics. Out of these three c odes, students most ofte n attributed value to a book such as stating, “This looks like a good book.”


12 A teacher in Kragler’s study (2000) implement ed time for fourth-grade students to select and read books in the classroom. Students could choose books from home, the school library, or the classroom library that was stocked with books representing a range of difficulty and genres. During 14 weeks, th e teacher asked students why they selected the books that they were reading. Kragler analyzed 9 middle socioeconomic White male students’ interview responses and cate gorized them according to (1) peer recommendation; (2) physical characteristics; (3) same author/series; (4) topic; and (5) previous experience. Students most comm only mentioned that they selected books because of recommendation by peers, which in cluded friends, family, and teachers. Mohr (2003) took into account the represen tation of genre, gender and ethnicity representation of characters, English and Spanish languages, and theme when selecting nine picture books to make accessible to 190 participants of varying socioeconomic levels. Individually, participants selected one of the nine books that they wanted to keep as their own. The researcher ordered partic ipants’ selections a nd provided all students with their book of choice. Students st rongly preferred nonfiction books. A greater percentage of boys, as well as students who previously had the books read aloud to them, chose nonfiction books. Approximately half the participants were Hispanic, and “there was no statistically significant preference fo r Spanish-language texts or books with Hispanic characters among Spanish-speaking st udents or among these first-grade students as a group” (Mohr, 2003, p. 170). Mohr co llected interview data on 65% of the participants who explained why they chos e a certain book. She presented these data using five categories: (1) genr e; (2) text features; (3) cont ent; (4) family connections; and (5) undefined. Approximately three-fourths of the interviewed participants’ rationales


13 related to content, particularly animals. Th is finding complements MohrÂ’s statement that the three most often selected books included animals as subjects, topics, or illustrations. Summary The studies discussed in this literature review tended to categorize selected books according to genres or categories. These cla ssifications described, from the researcherÂ’s perspective, what students se lected. Few similar findings appeared across studies, perhaps due to the way researchers categorized books, the varying samples, or books that were offered in the study. The findings that did reoccur across ages and gender in several studies included students sele cting more (1) fiction, partic ularly fantasy books; (2) books with animals; and (3) familiar books. Some studies found that boys were more likely than girls to select a nonfic tion book. Interview studies disc ussed in this review also resulted in varied findings. Similar to the studies that recorded st udentsÂ’ book selections, several researchers found that students chose their books because of animal content and familiarity. A review of the literature indicates that only a very few studies have been focused on the book selections of low socioeconomic st udents. However, what these studies do reveal is that these students were more likely to select books that were familiar to them due to teacher influence. Overwhelmingl y, low socioeconomic students chose more fiction than nonfiction books. One study comp ared findings between students of low socioeconomic and middle socioecono mic backgrounds and found no significant difference. Both groups most often sele cted fantasy, Caldecott nominees, and familiar books. Another under-represented sample in th ese studies included Black students. It should be noted that all research studies in this review were at least 16 years old. One


14 study indicated that Black participants sele cted more fiction books. This study also compared the racial identity of characters in the books that Black and White participants most often selected. White characters were usually included in books that Black students chose, while White participants selected characters of an unclear race (animals or inanimate objects). Another study revealed that Black participants selected more softback than hardback books. However, when contrasting Black a nd White participantsÂ’ selections, more White students chose so ftback books than Black participants. Furthermore, this study found that re asons for book selection among both groups included type of book or topic and previous direct experience with specific books. Most studies examined studentsÂ’ book se lections from the school or classroom library. One study discovered a gap between what students wanted to read, which included comic books and cartoon collections, and the reading materials that schools offered (Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). More studies are needed that provide students access to books that are atypical of what schools offer in order to further assess studentsÂ’ book selections. In the current study, I used mixed methods, which are discussed in Chapter 3, to examine what books students chose as well as why the participants selected certain books. This studyÂ’s participants consisted of economically disadvant aged Black students, a sample scarcely mentioned in the reviewed book selection studies and desperately in need of attention. Furthermore, participants of this study selected from a wide assortment of books, including those that featured medi a and mass marketing interests. Students were able to own a dozen of these books , providing a unique experience for students involved in a book selection study.


15 CHAPTER 3 THE STUDY The purpose of this study was to id entify which books that a sample of economically disadvantaged Black students se lected and explore reasons why books were chosen based upon richer data sources often ab sent in studies revi ewed in Chapter 2. Data sources included studentsÂ’ spontane ous talk during thei r book selections and responses to interview questions. A justification for a qualitative study, in which I used grounded theory and a constructivist approach to gain insight about economically disadvantaged Black studentsÂ’ book selections, is provided in the first section of this chapter. In the following sections, I present my perspective as the researcher and the context of the study to provide background. I then discuss th e role of the researcher a nd assistant, followed with a description of this studyÂ’s par ticipants. The next sections de scribe the data sources, data collection procedures, and data analysis proc edures, and the final sections focus upon the issues of validity and reliability. Lareau (2000) claimed that qualitative methods illuminate meanings of peopleÂ’s words and actions that c onstruct social reality. As I sought insight about childrenÂ’s book selections from the childÂ’s perspective, I chose a qualitative a pproach. Scientific research, such as qualitative re search, includes rigorous, system atic inquiry which is databased (Bogdan, 1998). Features of qualitative re search that applied to this study included the following: particularistic, descriptive, heuristic, and inductive (Merriam, 1998). This study was particularistic in that it focused on a particular situation: which books students


16 selected to own in a book fair setting and what students said about why they were choosing particular books. The study is descri ptive in that it give s a description through words and heuristic as it provides informati on to educators, parent s and guardians, and publishers regarding the kinds of books that economically disadvantaged Black children may voluntarily read. The inductive nature entered as theory em erged from the bottom up and was grounded in the data (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998). The goal of this research was to devel op a theory grounded in the data collected from children. Glaser and Strauss’ (1967) concept of grounded theory met this goal by allowing theoretical questions a nd answers to emerge as gather ed data generated a theory about motivating elements in children's book selections. Grounded theory requires researchers to “look for ideas by studying data and then returning to the field to gather focused data to answer analytic questions and to fill conceptual gaps” (Charmaz, 2002, p. 676). My approach to grounded theory resemble s Charmaz (2002) in that this theory “builds upon a symbolic interact ionist theoretical perspectiv e with constructivist methods . . . [and] provides an alternative portrayal of the studied world, not an exact picture of it” (p. 678). Both a constructivist approach to grounded theory and sym bolic interactionism focus upon the study of how action and mean ing are formed (Charmaz, 2002) and complemented this study’s purpose. Symbolic interactionism assumes that interpretation mediates human experience and that humans are engaged in creating their world (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998). A constructivist approach vi ews the data and analysis as created from the experiences of the research er, participants, and the relationship between researcher and participant within a specific context. Me thods within this approach provide useful


17 tools to learn, not to ensure knowing, as much as possible about how the informant constructs her or his meanings and actions (Charmaz, 2002). As a researcher using this approach, I assumed 1) numerous realities exis ted; 2) the researche r’s and the informants’ interactive constructions were reflected in the data; and 3) although incompletely, the researcher entered and was influenced by the informants’ worlds (Charmaz, 2002). Researcher’s Perspective The qualitative researcher is never separa te from the study (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). It is therefore imperative that my perspective of the research is made explicit so that the study can be read in a more reliable context. I am a middle-class White female who has substantial experience teaching elementary school. I en tered a doctoral program focused on reading after becoming frustrated with an increased awareness of the diverse reading needs of my students and a l ack of professional development and resources. During the first semester of coursework, two salient even ts occurred and direct ed the rest of my graduate school experience. First, I wa s reminded of the importance of providing students with access to enticing books so that th ey would be motivated to read. Second, I acknowledged my passion for working with eco nomically disadvantaged Black students. I was and continue to be c onvinced that if economically disadvantaged Black students had access to motivating reading material, they would be more inclined to read and gain reading capabilities and less apt to be victims of an achievement gap. Context of the Study This qualitative study further investigated a sub-study of a 3-year longitudinal, federally funded, experimental study, “Min imizing Summer Reading Loss among Poor Children,” during its final year of data co llection (Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2001). The overall objective of the longitudinal study, for which I was a rese arch assistant, was


18 to explore the role that easy access to books might play in voluntary summer reading among economically disadvantaged students. Th e state’s standardized achievement test served as the instrument to determine the impact of providi ng an intervention group with a substantial number of self -selected books for three consecutive summers. The substudy that my research project further exam ined was the “interestingness on engagement in voluntary reading and longer-term r eading achievement” (Allington & McGillFranzen, 2001, p. 17). Description of the Sites and Participants This research study focused upon the long itudinal study’s schools located in an urban county in Florida because most of th e participants consisted of economically disadvantaged Black students. After the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the county’s superintendent permitted the longitudi nal study to be conducted, schools with at least 50% of its enrolled students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals (the longitudinal study’s lower-income cr iteria) were invited to partic ipate. Ten principals of schools with 75% to 96% of the students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals, within a 15-mile radius, and lo cated near downtown, agreed to participate in the study. Nine of the 10 schools were labeled as “Read ing First” and “Title 1.” In an effort to assist students in beco ming successful readers, a national program, Reading First, allocates funds for kindergarten through thirdgrade students. According to a web site explaining Reading First, the program “is de signed to select, implement, and provide professional development for teachers using scie ntifically based reading programs, and to ensure accountability through ongoing, valid and reliable screening, diagnostic, and classroom-based assessment” (U.S. Depart ment of Education, 2004, p. 1). Another federally funded program, Title 1, distributes money to Florida school districts and


19 agencies so that they can provide edu cationally disadvantaged children with both supplemental instruction and suppor t services that Title 1 auth orities state are high quality (Florida Department of Education, 2004). During Year 1, approximately 1,000 firsta nd secondgraders who were enrolled in 1 of the 10 participating schools returned parent permission forms and signed assent forms agreeing to participate in the long itudinal study. These students were randomly assigned to either a book interven tion group or a no book control group. Approximately 60% of the students remained at schools invol ved in the study during Year 3. While the aforementioned sub-study included about 160 students in Year 1, approximately 100 students remained in Year 3. Description of a Typical Book Fair For 3 consecutive years, students in th e book intervention group self-selected 15 books at a book fair located at their schools in the spring. Typical locations for each schoolÂ’s book fair included a gymnasium, multipurpose room, or large classroom. Several rectangular or circular tables usually served to display books. A book fair lasted about 2 hours at each school. Groups of about 15 book intervention stude nts arrived in approximate 30-minute intervals. Two to five sub-study students, se veral of whom were pa rticipants for this study, tended to be in each group of 15 students. Either a staff member from the school, such as the reading coach, or a research as sistant gathered each group of students from varying classrooms and walked with them to th e book fair location. Students then sat in a small area near the book fair for about 3 minut es and received their own order form (see Appendix A for an example of an order form ) and pencil secured onto a clipboard. After completing the top portion of their order forms as a co-principal inves tigator or research


20 assistant provided guidance, they listened to instructions about how to order books. Instructions consisted of informing students that when they wanted to order a book, they wrote the number that was labeled at the top left corner of the book inside of one of the 15 squares on their order forms. For example, if a student wanted the book, Meet Danitra Brown (Grimes, 1994), which had the number 495 in the top left corner, the student would write 495 inside one of the orde r formÂ’s squares. Additionally, a research team member usually informed students to wr ite the numbers of the most desired books near the beginning of their order forms because the last three squares served as book substitutes. Next, the students walked around the book fa ir in a shopping type atmosphere with their individual clipboards as they ordered books, freely engaged in discussion with their peers, and were allowed to look at and th rough books. Students w ho were not sub-study participants placed books back into or near their accompanying bins after looking at or choosing them. Sub-study participants picked up and walked around with five of their selected books for two tasks that will be late r explained. These students were frequently asked by other participants a bout a bookÂ’s number that they were holding so that they could order it as well. As a whole, students were not given a time fr ame to complete their order forms. Many students selected thei r books within 15 minutes. There were a few cases where students hurried in ordering books due to school ac tivities such as lunch or recess. Additionally, although rarely, stude nts who lingered and were not focused on book selections after the rest of their group le ft were encouraged by one of the research team members to complete their selections.


21 Co-principal investigators and research assistants held se veral individual as well as cooperative roles during a book fair such as pl acing books back in their bins when a substudy student was finished with them, checki ng and correcting the pl acement of books in bins, answering reference questions su ch as the following: “Do you have Junie B. Jones ?” and “Where are the scary books?”, a nd suggesting books to students who asked for such assistance or who had an incomple te order form after being there for a long period of time. Usually the only other adul t present included the faculty member or volunteer who assisted in bringing students to and from the book fair. This adult rarely conversed with students during the book fair, and if conversat ion did occur, it was usually about what the student recently selected. When students completed their order forms, a research assistant checked to make sure no numbers were duplicated and that a ll writing was legible on the forms. At this time, students went back to class unless partic ipating in the sub-study. Participants of the sub-study took their order form a nd five of their selected books either to me if they were a participant of this study or to another research assistant. Regardless of which research assistant students visited, all sub-study st udents engaged in two tasks: 1) state why she/he chose 5 of the 15 books and 2) read for 1 minute out of each book in order to obtain a words correct per minute (wcp m) score (Harris & Sipay, 1990). During the last week of school, book inte rvention students received 12 of the 15 books that they selected (three books se rved as substitutes in case the publishing company did not have books in stock), thus providing these students access to books for three summers. Book intervention students w ho were absent on the day of the book fair received books that a peer selected for them, based on that peer’s knowledge of their


22 interests. When book intervention student s received self-selected books from the book fair, students in the no book control group receiv ed one or two activity type of books that contained little or no print. Description of Book Access The same 412 paperback books were taken to all 10 schools. The majority of these books were published by Scholastic, currently the largest children’s books’ publisher and distributor in the world. Scholastic is a $2 billion dollar multimedia company in existence for more than 83 years and is cu rrently a top provider for school and public libraries’ print and online refe rence products such as Gro lier, Children’s Press, and Franklin Watts. Additionally, this compa ny owns Scholastic Entertainment which is a leading producer of “family-o riented television programming, feature films, videos and web sites, and a licensor and marketer of children’s properties worldwide” (Corman, 2004, para. 10). Approximately 3% of the tota l number of books in the book fair were published by Dorling Kindersely (DK) because of this publisher’s distribution of high interest nonfiction books including two topics th at had been requested for 2 years, sports and animals (Appendix B indicates which books were published by DK). Scholastic purchased the specific book titles that the res earch team wanted in the book fairs from DK. Twenty-four books, 6% of the books offered at the book fair, received one of the following literary awards: Children’s Choi ce, Teacher’s Choice, Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Notable Books in the La nguage Arts, and Notable Books for a Global Society. Appendix B relays information about the specific books that received an award. Additionally, 72 books (17% of the total books o ffered) complemented the state’s thirdor fourth-grade science or so cial studies standards.


23 The research team considered factors, such as the six listed below, when selecting books for the Year 3 book fair: 1. Books based on student preferences fr om the two previous annual book fairs, including books based on media and mass marketing interests, such as Superman's First Flight (Friedman, 2000), and series books such as Junie B. Jones written by Barbara Park. 2. Books reflecting a generally equal over all distribution of fiction and nonfiction content because the state standardized reading test included both genres. 3. Books that included individual chapters be cause most participants were thirdand fourth-grade students. 4. Books containing a variety of reading levels determined by either Lexile levels or Guided Reading levels. 5. Books featuring male, female , and minority protagonists. 6. Books suggested by vendors at the a nnual International R eading Association conferences, published children's book lists such as Children's Choices, and research literature about children' s reading interest s and preferences. The research team conducted two to th ree book fairs a day. One organizational method that we employed to preserve time a nd energy, as well as to help students find books easily, was placing books into plastic bi ns according to categories. The research team met multiple times to reach consensu s regarding in which bins books would be placed. Our observations and data from student interviews regarding why certain books were selected from the previous 2 years of book fairs guided our decision making for placing books into specific bins. For exam ple, some students stated they liked books with superheroes, so that became a bin labe l. Additionally, students appeared to be drawn towards certain book series, therefore, if we had several books within the same series, we grouped them according to their independent seriesÂ’ name (e.g., Marvin Redpost and Bunnicula ). We also grouped books together by their common topics (e.g., animals and sports), in groups as displayed in ScholasticÂ’s catalogue (e.g., family and


24 friends), and genre (e.g., fantasy). The resear ch team put these labels on the backs of books so that they could be quickly returned to designated bins a nd transported to the next school location. Appendix B contains a li st of all books and the bin label in which they were displayed. Role of the Researcher and Assistant The most important role for me as a resear cher was that of a learner. I was and remain a curious student of what books economically disadvantaged Black students prefer and why they prefer them. Additiona lly, I expected to listen more than talk (Glesne, 1999; Spradley, 1979). While listening to the info rmant, I made a condensed account of the reasons students provided fo r choosing certain books, as well as salient words from the informant such as “funny” or “read before” so that I could later explore their meanings (Spradley, 1979). I mainta ined eye contact, nodded my head, and sometimes reiterated what informants said to show interest (Spradley, 1979). Additionally, I remained extremely conscious of my verbal and nonverbal behaviors (Eder & Fingerson, 2002) as I assumed that st udents would treat me as a learner if I did not demonstrate controlling behaviors that mi ght be associated with teachers. When possible, I assumed the previously mentione d varying roles for th e longitudinal study. The assistant’s role did not entail that of a learner but as a supporter in managing responsibilities when new par ticipants arrived an d I was engaged in an interview. Furthermore, this assistant maintained the aforementioned roles as needed. Participants In order to obtain both breadth and dept h in gaining insight about book preferences of a sample of economically disadvantaged Black students, I used three levels of participants, as shown in Figur e 1. I based the idea of three levels of participants upon


25 qualitative studies that examin ed data of fairly large samples and attempted to gather richer data from case study participants ta ken from the original samples (McGinley & Kamberelis, 1996; Spears-Bunton, 1990). As I further describe the three levels of participants, I briefly mention the data source that accompanied each level. A thorough explanation of each data source is presented in the next section. Figure 3-1. This StudyÂ’s Three Levels of Participants I examined book order forms of Level A participants, which consisted of 293 students from the longitudinal studyÂ’s book inte rvention group. I selected these students because they were Black, as reported in the districtÂ’s student records, and they were present to self-select books at the Year 3 book fair. Sub-level B participants, a smaller sa mple from Level A students, provided spontaneous talk data duri ng the time that they select ed books. Spradley (1979) suggested selecting participants familiar w ith the same cultural scene of the study. I chose Sub-level B students from the a pproximate 100 randomly selected students participating in the sub-study because many of them would participate in individual interviews, a cultural scene that these students were familiar with from the previous 2 years of book fairs. My intention was to implement random purposeful sampling (Kuzel, Sub-level C (30 Participants) Sub-level B (40 Participants) Level A (293 Participants)


26 1999) of sub-study participants, with age and sex being equa lly represented. The major hindrances of this plan were student absen ces, recent school transfers, and available equipment that worked properly. As the days progressed and s ub-study participants served as substitutes for original particip ants for this study, sampling became more purposeful. I strove to represent age and se x equally while managing the availability of equipment during the time that the schools and t eachers provided particip ants to be at the book fair. I selected 30 of the Sub-level B students to comprise Sub-level C participants who promised the most insight about book prefer ences through their talk during interviews. Similar to selecting Sub-level B participants, I chose as many Sub-le vel C participants as possible under the time constraints, ba sed upon random purposeful sampling (Kuzel, 1999), with age and sex bei ng equally represented. Researchers have stated that book choices tend to be cleare r around the age of 8 (Downen, 1972 as cited in Harkrader & Moore, 1997; King, 1967), therefore all participants of this study we re between the ages of 8 and 12. In Table 1, I display the representation of gender in the three levels of participants. I treated labels such as race, gender, and economic background as narrativ e descriptors about the participants’ backgrounds instead of categories. These cu ltural descriptors we re not “assumed to imply an essence of the individual or group i nvolved,” and I did not treat them as causal units (Gutiérrez & Rogoff, 2003, p. 23).


27 Table 3.1. Number of Part icipants by Gender for Each Level or Sub-level Level or Sub-level Gender Number Girls 155 A Boys 138 Girls 22 B Boys 18 Girls 15 C Boys 15 Data Sources “Just as we use more than one method in teaching so that we reach more students and compensate for different weaknesses within methods, multiple data-gathering methods should be utilized to obtain in formation about what books students like” (Williams, 2004). Students’ 15 book selections se rved as the data source to answer this study’s first question: What books do ec onomically disadvantaged Black students commonly select to own in a setting that allo ws them to choose from approximately 400 specific books? The spontaneous talk of stude nts during book selecti ons and responses to interview questions after book se lections supplied information about the second question: Why did these participan ts select certain books? Students’ 15 Book Selections Sub-level A participants completed a book order form. This form provided data about the 15 book titles that each student selected. Students’ Spontaneous Talk during Book Selections As this study sought to gain insight a bout why students selected books, not through the eyes of an adult, but through the eyes of the individual studen ts, spontaneous talk during the time that Sub-level B students chose books served as a rich data source. Three wireless microphones, transmitters, and receiver s sent audio signals to individual cassette


28 decks. The cassette decks tape recorded both participants with wireless microphones attached to their shirts a nd students in close proximity to these participants. Other studies have utilized this data source and found it worthwhile in gaining informational depth. Alton-Lee and Nutha ll (1993) conducted a study in which they attached broadcast microphones to sixth-grad ers during classroom activities in order to gain information about students’ experiences as they dealt with overt and covert messages embedded in the curriculum. They argued that this method had reasonable grounds for obtaining “an externalization of norma lly covert processes . . . they represent spontaneous thinking aloud” ( p. 65). Alton-Lee and Nuthall’ s findings further explored students’ experiences as they: (1) res ponded to curriculum content and developed knowledge constructs; (2) ma naged the classroom culture ; (3) participated in sociocultural processes; and (4 ) learned within the classroom culture. Another study that used wireless microphones examined the book selection processes of elementary-aged students (Reutzel & Gali, 1998). Researchers instructed student s to “tell what they were thinking and why . . . essentially a str eam of consciousness verbal report of book selection strategies” (p. 12). The study f ound that students followed a general routine when selecting books. Students usually sele cted books based on physic al characteristics and a value attachment (“This book looks good” ), and students typically selected books that were at or below eye-level. I conducted a pilot study w ith approximately 20 stude nts during the Year 2 book fair and examined potential difficulties of using wireless microphones, as well as their impact on students' spontaneous talk. The ma jority of the participants did not appear affected by the microphones as topics included trying to stay longer at the book fair to


29 miss class and the attractiveness of famous pe ople. A few students were intrigued with the wireless microphones at first, but the novelt y appeared to dissipa te as students often became increasingly engaged in decisions about what books to select and discussion with peers about the books. Alton-Lee and Nutha ll (1993) also reported that after a familiarization period, participants seemed to ignore the recording process. I transcribed audiotapes us ing a standard cassette transcriber. As the only transcriber, my goal was to type all utteran ces verbatim of the participant and students speaking to the participant. Another goal wa s to further the development of the grounded theory. As I transcribed, I often noted themes , ideas, and reflections that assisted in the developing theory and stemmed from the stude ntsÂ’ talk. My own ideas were written between double parentheses, and I used quotation marks to indicate the studentsÂ’ verbatim talk. Transcription code s are included in Appendix C. StudentsÂ’ Talk during Interviews after Book Selections I conducted individual semi-structured in terviews which consisted of less and more structured questions with Sub-level C participants, to gain information about why students selected their books (Bogdan, 1998). All interviews c onsisted of the following: 1) a greeting; 2) asking friendly questions to build rapport; 3) a briefing to make the student aware of an active role in informing me about why she or he choose certain books (Kvale, 1996; Spradley, 1979); 4) an explanation of why we were engaging in an interview; 5) a statement of ignorance a bout the participantÂ’s perspective (Spradley, 1979); and 6) a debriefing to change th e pace of the conversation to a more conversational level (Charmaz, 2002). The less structured questions stemmed from four types of de scriptive questions mentioned in SpradleyÂ’s ethnographic interv iew, which seek meaning behind behavior


30 (Spradley, 1979). The first descriptive quest ion that I asked was a grand tour question, which allowed informants to reveal why th ey chose certain books at the book fair. Generally, the grand tour question was, “T ell me about why you chose these books that you get to keep.” The second descriptive question, a mini -tour question, asked for further information typically given during a grand tour response, such as, “Tell me about Destiny’s Child being intere sting.” The third kind of question, the example question, asked the informant to provide an example for a certain event or act that was mentioned. Sometimes I asked students to give me an example of something funny from a book if they had read it before and described it as funny. Last, I asked native-language questions to gain more insight about the informants’ definitions of seemingly salient adjectives about books or characters (Spradley, 1979). One boy mentioned that the Captain Underpants’ book series by Dav Pilkey were “wicked.” I asked him to describe what this word meant so that I could better understa nd why it positively influenced him to select books within the series. A more structured question that I asked all participants included a verification question to make sure that I understood what students said about why they chose their books. As data collection prolonged, I asked pa rticipants more struct ured questions about how they became familiar with books because this emerged as a salient reason in students’ book selections during the preliminary interviews (Bogdan, 1998). Refining the Questions Book fairs of the previous 2 years served as preliminary pilot studies, particularly when I briefly interviewed sub-study stude nts about why they chose their books. I became more competent in open probing because students tended to passively agree with me if I probed in a closed-ended manner. Furthermore, over time, I became more


31 comfortable with the wait time that students of ten need to talk about why they chose their books. Approximately 1 month before collecting data, I received feedback about my preliminary interview questions from one a dult Black male and one adult Black female, both having teaching experience. Their input he lped me to realize that I should reveal why I select books for voluntary reading to get st udents to “open up” and that I needed to increase the amount of “kid language” su ch as saying “true” books instead of “nonfiction” books. Shortly af terwards, I conducted a pilo t study with several Black, female and male, third-graders who received free or reduced-price meals at school. These students selected books that they would be able to own in a similar fashion as the participants of this study. Additionally, I conducted an interview with each student so that I could practice articulat ing the questions and probes. Students in the pilot study reminded me of two major issues: the more I talked, especially at first, the more informants talked, and openended probes gath ered the most student rich data (Spradley, 1979). I continuously fine-tuned the interview protocol dur ing the 5 days of data collection. The main purpose of refining the protocol was to further the development of the grounded theory (Eder & Fingerson, 2002) as this theory emerged from “a tight fit between the collected data and analysis of those data” (Charmaz, 2002, p. 676). Because every informant’s talk was unique, the order and inclusion of the probes and questions varied. The protocol served as a guide, not a script, to gather data. Below, I list several of the main differences between the inte rview protocols from Day 1 and Day 5. A revised protocol from Day 5 is included in Appendix D.


32 As I conducted more ethnographic intervie ws, observed participants in the book fair setting, and listened daily to audi otapes of spontaneous talk, my own language and the language of the interview protocol became more astute in conversing with informants and asking questions (Charmaz, 2002; Spradley, 1979). For example, instead of asking students about “the Goosebumps series,” I asked them about “ Goosebumps books” because many participants had used this language. The flow of conversation became more na tural as data collection continued, partly due to reorganizing the order of questions. On Day 5, for example, students talked about why they chose all 15 books, listened to my synthesis about what they said, and were further probed about salient responses. On previous days, I probed students as they revealed one or two reasons for selecting books, and I did not synthesize until after this pr obing. Their responses may have served as a richer data source on Day 5 as opposed to Day 1 because I did not interrupt their thought processes w ith probes about why they selected their books. I heavily incorporated the statement, “Tell me more” throughout the data collection process because it was non-thre atening and open-ended, and this probe often allowed the student to relay rich insight. Transcribing Students’ Talk duri ng Interviews after Book Selections I transcribed audiotapes usi ng a standard cassette transcriber. My goals remained the same from transcribing tapes of students’ spontaneous talk dur ing book selections. Additionally, I used the same transcription codes. Reflective Notes I recorded reflective notes before, during, and after data collection into a spiral notebook or typed document. Reflective notes included experiences, mistakes, breakthroughs, problems, and thoughts about emerging theory (Lar eau, 2000; Spradley, 1979; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Additionally, as my ethnicity, economic status, age, role, and sometimes gender, differed from that of my participants, the reflective notes provided a way to reflect upon my subjectivity and keep it in check. Following Lareau’s advice (2000) , I typically recorded da tes and locations of all sites, as well as names of participants if th ey were involved in a salient event. I also


33 placed my words inside of double parenthese s to differentiate be tween participantsÂ’ words and my own. Data Collection Procedures Formal data collection began in early March 2004 and ended in the latter part of the month, about 2 months before school ended and students received their books. The following procedures before, during, and after book selections occurred for 5 days. The research team provided a book fair to two schools each day. We conducted book fairs for 3 consecutive days and then had 13 days until continuing the rest of the book fairs in the same county that this study took place. Th e fourth day of book fairs was followed with 1 day of reflection, and then the last day of data collection o ccurred. The majority of the procedures remained the same, however, due to reflection during and after each book fair, development of the grounded theory, and my desi re to gain rich insight, I modified some procedural items. Before Book Selections When Sub-level B and Sub-level C stude nts received their clipboards, they typically filled out the top por tion of their forms in a whol e group setting. Next, they joined me or the assistant at an area close to the book fair where audiotaping equipment was located. The following prot ocol excerpt reveals how stud ents were introduced (see Appendix E for the entire protocol): You will have a little microphone put ont o your shirt and a pouch put around your waist with a small box (transmitter) inside of it. This helps tape record your talk during the book fair. Late r on I will listen to the tape s so that I can learn about why you chose your books. One way you can help is to just be yourself and talk about what you are thinking as you look at and choose books today. Next, the assistant or I s howed students two or three books that were not in the book fair and modeled how we would talk or think aloud about why we chose these


34 books. During the beginning stages of the re search study, I struggled with the idea of modeling because I worried that students w ould be too impacted by the adult-molded view of thinking aloud. However, two events caused me to include modeling. First, I had prior experience with students of this ag e group being challenge d with thinking aloud about book selections and then gaining compet ence after an experienced reader modeled how she or he chose books. Second, a Black male with teaching experience suggested that I reveal some reasons why I selected books as a way to “get kids to open up.” When I wrote field notes during the book fair and during the time of daily listening to audiotapes, I remained aware of the possible impact of the adult’s modeling on students’ talk. One of the books that I modeled, Earrings! (Viorst, 1990), increasingly concerned me because of the language that I chose when describing to students about why I would choose it: Just by the first page, I know that th is book called Earrings! will remind me of myself at an early age. I wanted my ears pierced really bad, but I couldn’t until I was older. I can’t wait to see if this characte r’s parents let her get her ears pierced! Conscious of my role as a researcher w ho wanted to learn from and with students and not try to prove something that I am very interested in gaining insight about, if students tend to choose books that reminded them of themselves, I decided to remove the modeling of selecting Earrings! after Day 2. Several students did relate selected books to their own lives in the first two days of gathering data , and I wondered if they were replicating a reason I had articulated when m odeling. As I strove to gain insight about this, without being concerned that I caused the insight, I determined that it would be best if students, on their own, initia ted any data about relating books to themselves. During Days 3, 4, and 5, the protocol remained the sa me as Days 1 and 2 with the exception of deleting the modeling of selecting the book Earrings!.


35 If needed, the assistant or myself reminde d students about how to complete their order forms. Next one of the adults: 1) la beled each student’s audi otape with her or his name and school; 2) clipped a wireless micr ophone that accompanied its own transmitter, receiver, and cassette deck onto the student’s shirt about 6 in ches below her or his mouth so that the recording could be audible; 3) pressed record on the cassette deck; 4) asked the student to state her or his name; 5) re minded students to hold onto five selected books; 6) informed her or him about the person to see when completing the order form; and 7) set a timer for 5 minutes. While all of this was occurring, the rest of the group of students listened to a longe r version of the instructi ons about completing book order forms. During Book Selections With the exception of the first schoo l on Day 1, students with and without microphones began shopping for books at the same time to assure the tape recording of students’ initial excitement and discussion about books that they were seeing, perhaps for the first time. Microphoned students in the firs t school began shortly af ter the rest of the students because it took longer th an expected to complete some of the tasks mentioned in the Before Book Selections section. These st udents walked around the book fair, just like students who were not microphoned, in a shopping type atmosphere. Within 5 minutes from the time a group be gan selecting books, a timer sounded to remind myself or the assistant to appro ach each microphoned stude nt individually and state, “I see you have chosen (title of a book). Tell me about why you chose it.” If needed, students were further probed with st atements such as, “Tell me more about why you like it” or “Tell me more about why it’ s interesting.” This was added after completing a pilot study and realizing that some students did not verbalize during the


36 selection process. Probing every student at least once about why she or he selected a book assured me that I would obtain data about why students selected at least one book at the book fair. Furthermore, this probe may have reminded students that they should be talking about why they were choosing books. After Book Selections After microphoned participants completed th eir order forms and a research assistant checked for duplicate numbers and illegible writing, students brought their order forms and five books to either myself or another re search assistant, depe nding upon their status as Sub-level B or Sub-level C. A res earch assistant usually detached wireless microphones from Sub-level B participants at this time so that the equipment would be available for other participants. Next, S ub-level B participants completed the abovementioned sub-study tasks with a research assistant. Wireless microphones remained attached to Level C participants. First, thes e students typically engaged in an interview with me at a private area near the book fair . This setting usually consisted of a small student desk and two chairs located at the side of the room where the book fair took place. If time permitted, I admini stered the wcpm assessment afte r the interview. If time did not permit, another research assistant administered the assessment. Sometimes Level C students completed the wcpm assessment with a research assistan t first because I was already engaged in an interview. This assist ed in the students returning to the classroom as soon as possible. Data Analysis Procedures I analyzed three of the four data sources; th e reflection notes served as a tool for me as I analyzed the data. In this sectio n, I describe how I analyzed studentsÂ’ 15 book


37 selections. This is followed with a descrip tion of how I analyzed students’ talk during and after book selections. Students’ 15 Book Selections My goal when analyzing this data source was to discover the books that participants commonly selecte d, therefore, I examined the 20 most frequently preferred books. I compared the 20 books most often sel ected by students in Level A with those chosen by Sub-level B participants to not e the correlation between the two groups. Additionally, I present descrip tive statistics of th e 20 most frequently chosen books from Sub-level B participants based upon their status as fiction or nonficti on and if applicable, the representation of gender and race of the characters on the front covers. The 20 most commonly selected books among boys and girls significantly differed, therefore, I also present descriptive statistics according to gender. Students’ Talk during and after Book Selections Grounded theory maintained precedence during on-going data analys is of Sub-level B and Sub-level C participants’ transcript s as theoretical questions and answers developed and generated theory about w hy participants selected books. As a constructivist researcher, I perceived this data analysis as “a construction that not only locates the data in time, place, culture, and context, but also reflects the researcher’s thinking” (Charmaz, 2002, p. 677). I coded data using open, axial, and sel ective codes (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). In order to focus data analysis, I only analy zed talk that related to why students were selecting their 15 books. During the first anal ytic step, open coding, I analyzed data lineby-line and assigned labels or codes to repres ent students’ talk (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). For example, one student stated, “Well our teacher Senora Torrez, she loves Patricia


38 Polacco.” I assigned the open codes “teacher influence” and “author” next to this line because the student selected a book by a partic ular author, Patricia Polacco, whom her teacher had mentioned. Based upon preliminary open codes, I de veloped axial codes that grouped open codes into super categories. Axial codes served to reassemble data that had been taken apart during open coding (Strau ss & Corbin, 1998). For exampl e, I found that there were several open codes such as “peer influence” a nd “share with sibling” that I grouped under the axial code “other people.” I coded so me individual sentences with two axial codes when students stated more than one reason for choosing a book. Fo r example, I labeled “other people” and “read before” next to the se ntence, “Ms. Harris read that to us in 1st grade.” After coding about half of the transc ripts, two doctoral students in the field of education who had previously completed a qua litative methods course, read transcripts from 2 Sub-level C boys and 2 Sub-level C girls. They provided feedback for the preliminary open and axial codes. One of the doctoral students served as an independent coder (Miles & Huberman, 1984) and assigned he r own open and axial co des to the data. The other doctoral student double-checked the codes that I assigned to data. I refined codes based upon my colleagues’ feedback, coded the rest of the transcripts, and gave a randomly selected Sub-level C student’s tran script to one of the doctoral students to independently code using the further developed axial codes. After noting a low interrater agreement on this transcript due to our differe nt conceptions of two axial codes, I refined these codes and met with the coder. We coded the transc ript using the refined codes leading to over 90% agreement. The final ax ial codes included the following: 1) topic;


39 2) series; 3) fictional character ; 4) genre; 5) media; 6) ot hers; 7) read before; 8) life experience; and 9) book features. I then engaged in selective coding, the “p rocess of integratin g and refining the theory” (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 161). In this stage I organi zed axial codes around two central explanatory concepts or selective codes, students’ descri ptions of selected books and sources of familiarity with selected books. (See final codes in Appendix F.) Validity Dooley stated that validit y “refers to the appropriate ness, meaningfulness, and usefulness of the specific inferences made from the measures” (2001, p. 76). I employed three strategies to strengthen the validity of this study. Triangulation through the use of multiple methods bolstered this study’s validity. I compared data about why students selected their books that appeared in stude nts’ spontaneous talk with data from interviews. Another strate gy included member checks as I summarized what students said about why they selected their books during interviews an d asked them to correct this information if needed. Additionally, I asked peers to examine and comment upon emerging findings (Merriam, 1995). One peer was African American, and I hoped that her input would lessen the lik elihood that my “meanings of data [were] not skewed by cultural biases and by ethnocentric thinking” (Orellana & Bowman, 2003, p. 30). Reliability Reliability is concerned with “the questi on of the extent to which one’s findings will be found again” (Merriam, 1995, p. 55). In the social sciences, the idea of reliability is complex because human behavior changes. Instead of striving for reliability in the sense of replicating this study’s results in another study, I strove for consistency in my results and the data collected (Merriam, 1995). I bolstered this study’s reliability by


40 including three strategies. Triangulation and peer examina tion, two strategies mentioned in the validity section, also se rved to increase reliability. The multiple methods of data collection that I used, a form of triangulation, allowed me to check the consistency of the emerging findings and increase confidence of my interpretations of the data (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Peer examination “provides a ch eck that the investig ator is plausibly interpreting the data” (Merriam, 1995, p. 56). Two peers provided feedback about the consistency of the emerging re sults with the data that I collected (Merriam, 1995). The third strategy consisted of an audit trail. I prepared an audit trail consisting of my reflective notes, raw audiotape data, transcript ions, and tables that displayed data. This trail allows an outsider to track the decisi ons that I made during data collection and analysis (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).


41 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS In this chapter, I provide de scriptive data to an swer this study’s first question, What books do economically disadvantaged Black st udents commonly select to own in a setting that allows them to choose from approximately 400 speci fic books? I present tallies of the most frequently selected books among Level A and Sub-level B participants and note a high correlation between both groups’ choices. Examining Sub-level B students’ 20 most commonly selected books, I discuss the representation of genre and series, as well as gender and race of peopl e on the books’ front covers. Additionally, I report these data according to the gender of Sub-level B partic ipants. I present data from two sources—Sub-level B student s’ talk during the book fairs and Sub-level C students’ responses to interview questions—to answer this study’s second ques tion, Why did these participants select certain books ? Gender differences are reporte d in these data as well. Common Book Selections The top 20 book selections highly correlate d among Level A students consisting of 293 Black participants and Sub-level B stude nts, which included 40 of the Level A participants. All top five books of Level A students appeared on the top five book list for Sub-level B participants. Furthermore, 90% of the top 20 books selected by Sub-level B students appeared on Level A participants ’ top 20 list. Table 4.1 displays this information. This increased my confidence th at sub-group choices actually reflected the choices of the larger Level A group. This seem ed to support increased generalizability of the Sub-Level B responses.


42 Table 4.1. The Top 20 Book Titles of Le vel A and Sub-level B Participants Level A Top 20 Book Titles Number of Students Sub-level B Top 20 Book Titles Number of Students HanginÂ’ with LilÂ’ Romeo: Backstage Pass (Walsh, 2002) 153 Pop People: DestinyÂ’s Child (Glass, 2001) 19 Pop People: LilÂ’ Romeo (Morreale, 2003) 134 HanginÂ’ with LilÂ’ Romeo: Backstage Pass (Walsh, 2002) 18 Pop People: DestinyÂ’s Child (Glass, 2001) 118 Pop People: LilÂ’ Romeo (Morreale, 2003) 17 HanginÂ’ with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a) 83 HanginÂ’ with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a) 13 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (Pilkey, Hutchins, & Beard, 2002) 70 The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book OÂ’Fun #1 (Pilkey, 2001) 12 What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? (Medearis, 2002) 68 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (Pilkey, Hutchins, & Beard (2002) 12 The All New Captain Underpants ExtraCrunchy Book OÂ’ Fun #2 (Pilkey, 2002) 64 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling, 2002) 9 The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book OÂ’ Fun #1 (Pilkey, 2001) 61 What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? (Medearis, 2002) 8 Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2 (Pilkey, 2003b) 60 The All New Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book OÂ’ Fun #2 (Pilkey, 2002) 8 How to Draw Spider Man (Scholastic Inc., 2003b) 60 Meet the Stars of Professional Wrestling (Preller, 2000) 8 Table 4.1. Continued


43 Level A Top 20 Book Titles Number of Students Sub-level B Top 20 Book Titles Number of Students Meet the Stars of Professional Wrestling (Preller, 2000) 53 Hey LÂ’il D: ItÂ’s All in the Name (Lanier, Goodyear, & Preller, 2003) 8 Junie B. Jones: Boss of Lunch (Park, 2003) 51 Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask II (Stine, 2004) 8 Scary Creatures: Big Cats (Clarke, Riley, & Bergen, 2003) 50 Scary Creatures: Big Cats (Clarke, Riley, & Bergen, 2003) 7 The Incredible Hulk Book of Strength (Buckley & Buckley, 2003) 50 Ghostville Elementary: New Ghoul in School (Jones & Dadey, 2003) 7 101 Silly Monster Jokes (Stine, 1986) 47 Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2 (Pilkey, 2003b) 7 Goosebumps: Haunted Mask II (Stine, 2004) 44 Junie B. Jones: Boss of Lunch (Park, 2003) 6 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling, 2002) 43 How to Draw Spider Man (Scholastic Inc., 2003b) 6 Hey LÂ’il D: ItÂ’s All in the Name (Lanier, Goodyear, & Preller, 2003) 43 Hey LÂ’il D: Take the Court (Lanier, Goodyear, & Grover, 2003) 6 Hey LÂ’il D. Stuck in the Middle (Goodyear, Lanier, & Grover, 2003) 43 Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (Pilkey, 1999) 6 Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger, Part 1 (Pilkey, 2003a) 42 Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger, Part 1 (Pilkey, 2003a) 6


44 Table 4.1. Continued Level A Top 20 Book Titles Number of Students Sub-level B Top 20 Book Titles Number of Students 13 Scary Ghost Stories (Carus, 2002) 6 101 Silly Monster Jokes (Stine, 1986) 6 Considering the 20 books most frequently selected by Sub-level B participants, students were more likely to select fic tion books than nonfiction books. Approximately half of the Sub-level B part icipants chose the top thr ee books, all nonfiction books about either a famous person or group seen or hear d of through the media. Additionally, over three-fourths of the 20 most preferred books were a part of a series. Participants commonly selected six books within the Captain Underpants series, making it the most popular series of the 10 book fairs. While 45% of these books contained a fictional, male main character or famous person on the front cover, 18% included a fictional, female main character or famous person, 18% cons isted of both genders, and 18% displayed animals or something other than a human. Furthermore, 18% of the selected booksÂ’ covers consisted solely of Black fictiona l characters or famous people, 27% included only White fictional characters or famous people, 36% displayed both races, and 18% represented no race. Descriptions of the 20 most frequently selected books can be found in Appendix G. Common Book Selections According to Gender Gender differences occurred among some of Sub-level B participantsÂ’ top 20 book selections. I used raw data and percenta ges based upon the total number of Sub-level B boys and girls to report these differences. I calculated percentages based upon gender, keeping in mind that there were 4 more girl participants than boy participants. When


45 comparing books that boys and girls most ofte n chose based on genre and aspects of the cover, I analyzed the average number of books that boy and girl participants selected. Although both genders chose roughly the same number of fiction and nonfiction books, as well as books within a seri es, there were specific title s representing these categories that boys and girls more often selected. In the following section, I compare boy and girl selections among fiction books followed w ith a comparison of their nonfiction book preferences. The varying book series that boys and girls more often selected are embedded in this section. As Table 4.2 shows, minimal gender differe nce occurred among some of the fiction books. Both genders selected books from the Captain Underpants series; however, boys did so more often than girls. Another book th at boys selected more often than girls was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling, 2000), from the Harry Potter series, with an approximate 20% spread. Girls chose What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? (Medearis, 2001), Junie B., First Grader: Boss of Lunch (Park, 2003) from the Junie B. Jones series, and 13 Scary Ghost Stories (Carus, 2002) more frequently than boys.


46 Table 4.2. Fiction Book Titles Within Sub-le vel B ParticipantsÂ’ Top 20 List According to Gender Fiction Book Titles Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls The Captain Underpants ExtraCrunchy Book OÂ’ Fun #1 (Pilkey, 2001) 7 39 5 23 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (Pilkey, 2002a) 6 33 6 27 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling, 2002) 6 33 3 14 What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? (Medearis, 2002) 1 6 7 39 Goosebumps: Haunted Mask II (Stine, 2004) 4 22 4 17 Ghostville Elementary: New Ghoul in School (Jones & Dadey, 2003) 4 28 3 14 Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2 (Pilkey, 2003b) 4 22 3 14 Junie B. First Grader: Boss of Lunch (Park, 2003) 0 0 6 27 Hey L'il D: Take the Court (Lanier, Goodyear, & Grover, 2003) 3 17 3 14 Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (Pilkey, 1999) 5 28 1 5


47 Table 4.2. Continued Fiction Book Titles Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1 (Pilkey, 2003a) 5 28 1 5 13 Scary Ghost Stories (Carus, 2002) 0 0 6 27 101 Silly Monster Jokes (Calmenson, 1989) 3 17 3 14 Table 4.3 reveals that Sub-level B boy and girl participants differed in some selections among their four most frequently chosen books, also nonfiction, series books that focused on famous people. Girls chose Pop People: DestinyÂ’s Child (Glass, 2001) about 5 times more frequently than boys . Over half of the girls preferred HanginÂ’ with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a); however, no boy selected this book. While boys chose one book about LilÂ’ Romeo more often than girls, the other book featuring LilÂ’ Romeo was selected more often by girls w ith about the same percentage. When averaging the number of times boy and girl students selected the two books about LilÂ’ Romeo, there was roughly the same gender repr esentation. Boys chose three nonfiction books that were not within the top four most frequently selected books more often than girls.


48 Table 4.3. Nonfiction Book T itles within Sub-level B ParticipantsÂ’ Top 20 List According to Gender Nonfiction Book Titles Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Pop People: DestinyÂ’s Child (Glass, 2001) 3 17 16 73 HanginÂ’ with LilÂ’ Romeo: Backstage Pass (Walsh, 2002) 6 33 12 55 Pop People: LilÂ’ Romeo (Morreale, 2003) 9 50 8 36 HanginÂ’ with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a) 0 0 13 59 Meet the Stars of Professional Wrestling (Preller, 2003) 6 33 2 9 Scary Creatures: Big Cats (Clarke, Riley, & Bergen, 2003) 5 28 2 9 How to Draw Spider Man (Scholastic Inc., 2003b) 6 33 0 0 When examining all of the book covers fr om Sub-level B part icipantsÂ’ top 20 list according to gender, boys most often chose books with only boys on the cover. They rarely selected books in the top 20 list with covers featuring only girls. Girls were likely to select an equal number of books with covers only depicting boys and covers only displaying girls. Boys and girls selected a similar numbe r of books with both genders on the cover and books displaying an imals or something other than a human. Boys and girls comparably chose books with White fictional characters and famous people on them as well as books with covers consis ting of animals or monsters. Girls were twice as likely as boys to select books with covers displayi ng Black main characters or famous people. On the other hand, boys were twice as likel y as girls to choose books displaying both


49 Black and White characters or famous peopl e. Both genders similarly selected books displaying only White characters or famous people and books not representing a race. Summary of Common Book Selections The top 20 book selections of 40 Sub-level B participants we re strikingly similar to those chosen by the 293 Level A participants. Examining the 20 most frequent book selections of Sub-level B pa rticipants, students selected fiction books and books within a series more often than nonfiction books and books independent from a series. More male fictional characters or famous people appeared on the top 20 book covers than female. Students chose more books with covers di splaying both Black and White fictional characters or famous people on them than c overs with only Black or only White fictional or famous people depicted. Gender discrepancies occurred among some Sub-level B participantsÂ’ top 20 book selections. Both genders selected a sim ilar number of fiction and nonfiction books as well as series books; however, there were cer tain book titles within these categories that either more boys or more girls often chose. Boy participants tende d to choose books with covers of people representing their own gender, while girls were as likely to select books with covers of only boys and c overs including only girls. Girls were more likely than boys to choose a book with a Black fictional character or famous person on the cover. Covers with both Black and Wh ite characters were select ed more often by boys than girls. Both genders chose a similar amount of books displaying only White characters or famous people as well as books with covers of animals or something other than a human. StudentsÂ’ Spontaneous Ta lk During Book Selections I gained insight into why students chose books from their audiotaped, spontaneous talk during the book fair. Before selecting books, I asked several students at each school


50 to think out loud about the books they chose so that their talk could be tape recorded. Briefly, I modeled thinking out loud using a fe w books that were not a part of the book fair. Additionally, I informed participants that their talk would help me to understand why they selected books. Sub-level B particip ants, 18 boys and 22 girls, provided data for this data source. Overall, about 670 minutes of students’ talk was recorded during the time that they were actually selecting books. Tran scripts from this data source resulted in approximately 250 pages or 57,200 words. Most of the students appeared to have a hard time thinking out loud to themselves. Data from this source genera lly stemmed from responses to a research team member’s probe (e.g., “Tell me about why you chose that b ook”) and informal talk with their peers. During the coding process, I re alized that the research team, including myself, often probed students more than once about their se lected books. Whether or not students’ talk resulted from thinking aloud or talking with someone, I viewed these data as spontaneous talk during the book fairs since students artic ulated reasons for book selections while choosing their books. After coding all spontaneous talk, I identified five axial codes that encapsulated most of the data: (a) topic; (b) series; (c) fi ctional characters; (d) me dia; and (e) genre. A participant may have mentioned information relating to a certain axial code, such as a topic, when selecting more than 1 of their 15 books. My purpose wa s to look at the axial codes across students; therefore, whether a student mentioned info rmation pertaining to an axial code once when selecting one book or multiple times when choosing several books, I tallied one mark next to the particul ar code. In further analyses, I identified common subcategories of and popular book titles within the axial code s. Again, I tallied


51 one mark for each student who provided data for a certain subcategory or book title at least once in order to examine common sub categories and book title s within codes and across participants. Due to th e gender differences in the pr evious data set, common book selections, I further analyzed data from stude nts’ spontaneous talk during book selections according to gender. In the next section, I use excerpts from tr anscripts to support th e findings within the aforementioned five axial codes. The transc ription key can be found in Appendix C. If the student or research team member did not mention the book ’s title or series in an excerpt, I placed the book title at the beginning of each excerpt. Topic Most Sub-level B students (n=37) identifie d a topic when discussing at least one book selection. Typically, students acknowledged a topic (e.g., “I love basketball”) or gave information about a topic (e.g., “Cheetahs are the fastes t animals”). A few students stated that they wanted to learn more a bout a topic (e.g., “I’ve always wanted to know more about the Titanic”). As I discuss th e three topics that students most often discussed—famous people, sports, and animals—I include excerpts of students acknowledging, giving information about, or wan ting to learn more a bout a topic. See Table 4.4 for the topics that boys and gi rls more frequently mentioned. Famous people. The most popular topic that students talked about was famous people. All of the girls a nd half of the boys who mentioned famous people in their spontaneous talk were referring to one of th e top four most commonly selected books that featured a person or group popular through the media. Participants such as Naomi and James expressed admiration of the tale nt of these particular people.


52 Table 4.4. Topics Frequently Mentione d among Sub-level B Boys and Girls Topic Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Famous People 12 67 17 77 Sports 7 39 5 23 Animals 5 28 5 23 Other 5 28 3 14 Book selections: Pop People: Destiny’s Child (Glass, 2001) and Hangin’ with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a) Naomi Let’s see. So far I got Destiny Child and Hilary Duff. RTM Ohhh, why’d you pick those? Naomi ‘Cause I think I think um Hila ry Duff is a good writer and um singer. RTM Hm hmm. Naomi But I I like Destiny Child too ‘cause she’s a good singer too. Book selection: Pop People: Lil’ Romeo (Morreale, 2003) RTM How ya doin’? James Fine…And he’s got a great show. ? Yea. RTM What kind of show? James It was like where Lit tle Romeo um channel Nickelodeon. RTM Oh /really?/ James /Called/ the Romeo Show. Yes. 32. Clusters of students generally gathered around the books featuring these people and absorbed the illustrations. Sometimes girl participants commented on the person or


53 group’s physical attractiveness. Transcript excerpts from Brittany and Kadem provide examples. Book selection: Pop People: Destiny’s Child (Glass, 2001) Brittany Ohhh!!! Destiny’s Child! I’m gettin this. Um, 2-0-6-1. I’m gettin Destiny’s Child because they’re my favorite singing group and they are pretty. Book selection: Pop People: Destiny’s Child (Glass, 2001) RTM Oh, Destiny Child, why’d you pick that one? Kadem ‘Cause I like how they sing and they dress and I like how they smile. Although the people featured in the top four most frequently selected books were the most common famous people mentioned, so me students commented on other kinds of famous people such as athletes, an astronaut , and several historical people. Four boys and 1 girl commented upon an athlete feat ured in a book. Students such as Deon appeared to admire the athletic abilities of these people. Book selection: The Story of Muhammed Ali (Garrett, 2002) LW Tell me about why you’re gonna get that book, Muhammed Ali. Deon The reason why I got that book becaus e he is so famous and he know how to box good. Three girls who selected Find Where the Wind Goes (Jamison, 2001) commented upon Mae Jamison. All of them acknowledged this famous person as a Black, female astronaut. An excerpt from Brittany’s transcript serves as an example. RTM So what’d you just pick? Brittany Uh, (Mason Jamison) the uh RTM Oh (Mae) Jamison. Brittany Macy Jamison.


54 RTM Yea, how uh, why’d you pick that one? Brittany Because it’s like tellin ’ it’s tellin’ the tr uth it’s tellin’ th e true of life of how Macy Ja Jamison became a first Black uh mar first Black astronauts. Three boys and 2 girls noted historical people when selecting books. Juan Ponce de Leon, Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, and Ma rtin Luther King, Jr. were included among the historical people that students discussed. Sports. Thirty-nine percent of the boys mentioned a sport that they connected with a selected book, while only 23% of the girls ma de reference to a sport. In order from most to least frequently discussed among boys, particular sports included football, basketball, wrestling, car raci ng, and baseball. Two girls mentioned football, and 1 girl each referred to basketball and wrestling when choosing books. Most of the time titles of the “sports” books included names of certain athletes, and students mentioned the sport that the athlete played, not the actual athlet e. Below are two examples of students who displayed this behavior. Book selection: Venus and Serena the Grand Slam Williams Sisters (Gutman, 2001) Charles Tennis my favorite sport. I play tennis… Book selection: The Story of Muhammed Ali (Garrett, 2002) Linda Oh, this one too! Because it shows when they boxin’ it’s like wow, wow. Animals. Approximately the same percentage of boys and girls mentioned animals featured in a chosen book. Five participan ts, 3 of whom were boys, commented upon big cats when selecting Scary Creatures: Big Cats (Clarke, Riley, & Bergen, 2003). One or 2 students referred to other animals such as gorillas, sharks, and dinosaurs. Book selection: Scary Creatures: Sharks (Clarke & Bergin, 2002)


55 RTM So Justin, you just picked up one of those uh X Ray books, right? Sharks? Why’d you pick that one up? Justin Because I like sharks. Jerome I would like Scary Creatures: Dinosaurs to find out why dinosaurs facts about dinosaurs and more. Other. Boys referred to a chosen book to a topic other than famous people, sports, and animals twice as much as girls. Topics that 1 or 2 boys men tioned included fighter planes, presidents, slime, germs, mummies, th e Titanic, secret c odes, spells, and the human body. One or 2 girls rela ted the Titanic, astronomy, ma th, or belly dancing to a chosen book. Series Often students called selected books by the name of their series. For example, instead of saying, “I want Captain Underpants and the In vasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space ,” a student would typically say, “I want a Captain Underpants book.” Students appeared to be purposefully looking for particular series such as the students in the following two excerpts. Jana I’m looking for the Amazing Grace books…that’s a that’s a I’m looking for Amazing Grace books I’m looking for Amazing Grace books. Albert I pick that one because I like all Captain Underpants’ books. Almost 70% of Sub-level B participants refe rred to at least one of their books by a name of a series. Boys displayed this be havior more often than girls, 78% and 57% respectively. Table 4.5 displays specific info rmation about the types of series that boys and girls more frequently mentioned.


56 Table 4.5. Series Frequently Mentio ned among Sub-level B Boys and Girls Series Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Captain Underpants 8 44 3 14 Goosebumps 6 33 2 9 Junie B. Jones 0 0 5 23 Other 4 22 5 23 The types of series that boys more freque ntly referred to consisted of Dav PilkeyÂ’s Captain Underpants and Goosebumps by R. L. Stine. The type of series that girls mentioned more often was Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park. No overlap occurred among any of the participants in the other ca tegory. Only 1 boy referred to either the Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling , Series of Unfortunate Events written by Lemony Snicket , David by David Shannon , Hey LÂ’il D coauthored by Bob Lanier and colleagues , or Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne series. Only 1 girl mentioned any of the following series: Amber Brown written by Paula Danziger, Ge rtrude Chandler WarnerÂ’s Boxcar Children, Ghostville Elementary coauthored by Debbie Dadey and colleagues , Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman , Amelia Bedelia written by Peggy and Herman Parrish, Patricia Polacco (an author) , or Debbie Dadey and colleaguesÂ’ Bailey School Kids . Fictional Characters While about 70% of Sub-level B boys and girls talked about fictional characters when choosing one or more books, the type of fictional character frequently differed among gender. See Table 4.6 for specific fict ional characters that boys and girls more often mentioned. Boys discussed superheroes such as Capt ain Underpants, the Incredible Hulk, and Spider Man when selecting books more often th an girls. On the other hand, girls more


57 frequently talked about Junie B. Jones and monsters than boys. More than a dozen various fictional characters formed the ot her category; usuall y only 1 participant mentioned each of these characters. Table 4.6. Fictional Characters Frequently Me ntioned among Sub-level B Boys and Girls Fictional Characters Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Captain Underpants 4 22 3 14 Incredible Hulk 3 17 1 5 Spider Man 3 17 0 0 Junie B. Jones 0 0 3 14 Monsters 0 0 3 14 Other 6 33 10 45 As participants discussed fictional characters , three types of talk occurred. The first type of talk acknowledged the character, us ually a main character of a series book. A transcript excerpt from Ernest serves as an example. LW So you just wrote down, what is this? 2-0-7-4, Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy . So tell me about why you like Captain Underpants. Ernest ‘Cause he got flip o ramas a nd I like and I like um when Captain Underpants beat um people up. In acknowledging Captain Underpants, Jos hua also provided an example of the second kind of talk, giving information about th e character (“Captain Underpants beat um people up”). The third type of talk, wondering about or predicting what is going to happen to a character, tended to stem from nonseries books. One transcript excerpt from Marie offers an example. Marie I like One of Three is because it look like it’s it look like (when she come come) of a part of a family so that’s why I like it .


58 Media Approximately half of Sub-level B boy and gi rl participants connected one or more books with a media source such as a televisi on show, movie, song, or video game. Table 4.7 displays book titles that these boys and gi rls more often associated with a media source. Note that the top four books selected by these participants are included in this table. Table 4.7. Books Frequently Connected to Media among Sub-level B Boys and Girls Book Titles Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Pop People: Destiny's Child (Glass, 2001) 0 0 4 18 Hangin' with Lil' Romeo: Backstage Pass (Walsh, 2002) and/or Pop People: Lil' Romeo (Morreale, 2003) 2 11 4 18 Hangin' With Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a) 0 0 3 14 Meet the Stars of Professional Wrestling (Preller, 2000) 3 17 0 0 Other 3 17 3 14 The boy and girl participants who conn ected a chosen book to a media source referred to different books, with the exception of books about Lil’ Romeo. Girls, more often than boys, referred a media source to one of the top four most often selected books. Books categorized in “oth er” did not overlap within or between gender. Sometimes participants exp licitly stated seeing or hearing about books through a media source, such as Miranda and one of her peers in the following excerpt. Book selected: Hangin’ with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a)


59 Miranda OkayÂ… 21 21 71Â…ah! Oh! She so cute! 21 71. Look at um her momma and daddy. ? Where? ? (Look at her friend.) Miranda Na ah, (unclear) her friend right there. ? Her friend. Oh, I (saw that show). Miranda I know. ? I saw the movie. Miranda (unclear) I saw this movie. Other times I inferred that students sa w or heard of a book through a media source based upon the context of their talk. For exam ple, in the excerpt be low, I inferred that Breonna had previously seen and heard a bout DestinyÂ’s ChildÂ’s dancing and singing through a media source because she labeled th em as her favorite dancers and singers. Book selection: Pop People: DestinyÂ’s Child (Glass, 2001) LW What book did you just write down? Breonna DestinyÂ’s Child. LW So tell me about why you got that book. Breonna Because they my favorite singers. LW Yea? Breonna Yes maÂ’am. LW Tell me about why they Â’re your favorite singers. Breonna They good dancers and they good singers.


60 Genre Approximately 40% of boy and girl Sub-level B participants referred to at least one selected book as being a funny, scary, or dr awing book. According to the participants who mentioned one of the three genres, mi nimal difference among gender occurred for the genres of funny and scary, wh ile a larger gender disparit y existed within the drawing genre. Table 4.8. Genre Frequently Mentione d among Sub-level B Boys and Girls Genre Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Funny 5 28 7 32 Scary 2 11 4 18 Drawing 2 11 0 0 Students who stated that a book was funny or scary rarely mentioned common book titles. Two boys and 1 girl referred to a book in the Captain Underpants series as funny. One boy and 3 girls commented on either 101 Silly Summertime Jokes (Calmenson, 1989) or 101 Silly Monster Jokes (Stine, 1986) as being funny. Three participants, all girls, associated 13 Scary Ghost Stories (Carus, 2002) as being a scary book. How to Draw Spider Man (Scholastic Inc., 2003b) was the book that both boys called a drawing book. Usually studentsÂ’ talk resembled Erica wh en relating a book to one of these genres. Students simply labeled the book as a funny, scary, or drawing book. Erica Ghostville Elementary Ghost Class , 2-37, 2-2 Ghostville . I I think Ghostville Elementary I think itÂ’s I think it Â’s gonna be a funny /book./ A few students, like Demario, talked a bout the bookÂ’s potential to make someone else laugh or scared. RTM What about this one? Scary Stories 3.


61 Demario If somebody cominÂ’ to my house and we want to tell about scary stories, I can look in the book and tell them one. Summary of StudentsÂ’ Spontane ous Talk during Book Selections Much of Sub-level B partic ipantsÂ’ spontaneous talk during their book selections revolved around five axial codes: (a) topic; (b ) series; (c) fictional characters; (d) media; and (e) genre. The most commonly discussed topics included famous people, sports, and animals. While girls more frequently comme nted on famous people featured in the top four most commonly selected books than boys , boys mentioned athletes and sports presented in books more than girls. Both genders referred to animals when choosing books with similar frequency. Boys more commonly referred to the name of a bookÂ’s series than girls, specifically the Captain Underpants and Goosebumps series. Similar percentages of boys and girls acknowledged fictional charac ters when selecting books. Boys more often acknowledged superheroes th an girls, and girls more frequently acknowledged Junie B. Jones and monsters than boys. Besides books featuring LilÂ’ Romeo, no overlap occurred among gender when examining the books that about half of Sub-level B boys and girls connected to a me dia source. Minimal percentage difference occurred among boy and girl participants who related a book to the funny or scary genre. StudentsÂ’ Talk During Interviews An additional data source that provided insight into why students chose certain books included audiotaped responses during in terviews after the book fair. After 30 of the Sub-level B students select ed their 15 books, they engaged in individual interviews with me. This group of students, referred to as Sub-level C particip ants, consisted of 15 boys and 15 girls. I informed these students th at the purpose of the interview was to help me and others better understand why they chose their books. Students responded to both


62 broad and specific interview questions about all or most of the books they chose. While I intended Sub-level C participants to talk about all 15 select ed books, sometimes that goal was not met due to studentsÂ’ lack of response. Most participants spoke freely and took their role as informants seriously during th e interviews. Approxi mately 645 minutes of talking with students during interviews re sulted in about 315 transcribed pages and 83,800 words. I tallied the data for this data set the sa me way that I tallied data from studentsÂ’ spontaneous talk. Whether a student stated information relating to an axial code once when choosing one book or numerous times wh en selecting severa l books, I placed one tally mark next to the axial code. When analyzing commonly mentioned subcategories and book titles within axial c odes, I tallied one mark for each student who provided data about a specific subcategory or book title at least once. I identified the same five axial codes as in the previous data s ource: (a) topic; (b) series; (c) fictional characters; (d) medi a; and (e) genre when coding studentsÂ’ talk during the interviews. Sometimes participants imparted the exact same data for the exact same book. Often, however, students provided da ta that generated the same five axial codes, but with different or more books. Some students who had not mentioned one or more of the five axial codes in the previous data set did so during the interview data set. Overall, the axial codes appeared in increa sed number and applied to a wider array of books due to the interview setting. When st udents spontaneously talked during their book selections, they could talk about as few or as many selected books as they desired. During interviews, I encouraged students to talk about all of th eir 15 selected books.


63 I discovered four additional axial codes when analyzing students’ talk during interviews: (a) other people; (b ) read before; (c) life experi ence; and (d) book features. I present the findings within al l of the axial codes and according to gender that were further categorized by two sele ctive codes—students’ descript ions of selected books and sources of familiarity with selected books. Students’ Descriptions of Selected Books Sub-level C participants often described their sel ected books based upon topic, series, fictional characters, or genre when they talked about why they made certain choices. In the following secti on, I present data included in th ese individual descriptions. Topic All girl and 14 of the Sub-level C boy part icipants associated at least one book to a topic during interviews. Students comm only mentioned the same topics from the previous data set. Gender differences o ccurred, as shown in Table 4.9, regarding the topics that were more frequen tly mentioned during interviews. Table 4.9. Topics Frequently Mentione d among Sub-level C Boys and Girls Topic Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Famous People 12 80 14 93 Sports 8 53 4 27 Animals 7 47 8 53 Other 6 40 7 47 Famous people . The most commonly mentione d topic between both genders included famous people. Five participants, 1 boy and 4 girls, associated a famous person with four or more of their chosen books. Si xty percent of the boys and 80% of the girls who connected a book to a famous person referr ed to one of the top four most commonly


64 selected books. Athletes whom 5 boys and 2 girls mentioned included wrestlers, football players, and basketball players. Seven participants, 4 of wh om were girls, who talked about a famous person when explaining a book selection mentioned a historical person, particularly Martin Luther King, Jr. LW What about I Have a Dream ? Tell me about why you got that. Michelle I Have a Dream is because I like to read a bout (Martin) because I like Mar what Martin Luther King did. LW What did he do? Michelle He he let the Black people let them sit they changed laws. LW Yea? Michelle That Black people can sit anywhere they want. LW Hm hmm. Michelle And and they can eat and Black people can eat in the same restaurant. Sports. Twice as many boys than girls connected a sport with one or more books during interviews. Three of the 8 boys who talked about a sport chose four or more “sports” books, while 1 girl displayed this be havior. Participants most often discussed football, basketball, and wres tling. Unlike the previous data set, book titles did not usually include an athlete’s name. Animals. Some participants talked about an animal when describing why they selected a certain book. Little gender discre pancy existed when examining the frequency that this occurred. Big cats continued to be the most commonly mentioned animal as 6 students, 5 boys and 1 girl, talked about them during interviews. Jeremiah chose five of his books because of the varying animals feat ured in each of them. One of his books


65 included a book featuring big cat s. Jeremiah expressed his interest in big cats in the following excerpt. LW Okay and then what about um Scary Creatures: Big Cats . Tell me about why you got that. Jeremiah Because I like lions and cheetahs and panthers. Most participants responded like Jeremiah when talking about animals; they simply liked particular ones. Between 1 and 3 students talked about all of the animals mentioned during the previous data set (gorillas, sharks, and dinosaurs) as well as monkeys and horses. Other. In addition to the “other” topics that students mentioned during their spontaneous talk, students mentioned unique to pics such as magic, spiders, school, the Civil War, government, and space during interviews. While an almost equal number of boys and girls talked about “other” topics, each unique topic remained sparsely represented. Series Fifty-seven percent of Sub-le vel C participants referred to a series at least once when discussing book selections. More girls discussed a series than boys, 67% versus 47% respectively. Other than 4 boys relating books to the Captain Underpants series, 1 or 2 students mentioned an arra y of 16 other specific series. Five students (3 boys and 2 girls) referred to four or more of their selected books to a certain series. Particular series that students mentioned duri ng interviews but not during spontaneous talk included James Howe’s Bunnicula, Animorphs written by K. A. Applegate, Judy Moody by Megan McDonald, The Littles authored by John Lawrence Patt erson, Suzanne Williams’ Third


66 Grade Friends, Magic School Bus written by Joanna Cole and colleagues , and Ann MartinÂ’s BabysitterÂ’s Club . Fictional Characters An equal number of Sub-level C boy and gi rl participants (n=28) associated fictional characters with at least one selected book. Alt hough low in frequency, students mentioned many of the fictional characters ta lked about during spontaneous talk when selecting books, plus about 20 other fictional characters. Over one-third of the participants who were interviewed, with no gend er disparity, related fictional characters to four or more books. Table 4.10 displays fi ctional characters that boys and girls more often mentioned during interviews. Table 4.10. Fictional Characters Frequently Mentioned among Sub-level C Boys and Girls Fictional Characters Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Captain Underpants 6 40 2 13 Spider Man 3 20 0 0 Batman 3 20 0 0 Various Goosebumps characters 3 20 1 7 Camilla Cream 0 0 4 27 Incredible Hulk 3 20 0 0 Other 14 93 14 93 Gender differences occurred when examining some of the fictional characters that students talked about during interviews. B oys more frequently mentioned superheroes and various characters on Goosebumps covers than girls, who more often discussed Camilla Cream, the main character from A Bad Case of Stripes (Shannon, 1998). Usually when participants, such as Chris in th e following excerpt, acknowledged or gave


67 information about fictional characters, the char acters were superheroes or main characters from series such as Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody. LW So tell me about why you got Batman Guide to Crime . Chris The reason why I like Batman is because I like Batman. Batman is my favorite character. Students talked about something that does or mi ght happen to a variety of characters from series and nonseries books who were almo st always on the booksÂ’ covers. LW And then what about A Bad Case of Stripes ? Why do you like that one? Justine She she always turn into colors and and she had turn into the flag, red, white, and blue. Genre Approximately three-fourths of Sub-leve l C participants, 12 boys and 11 girls, affiliated one or more selected books with one of the three genres from the previous data set. Both genders equally stated that a book was scary. Little difference occurred in the frequency that boys and girls referred to a book as being funny, and only 40% of the Sublevel C boys stated that a book was a drawing book. See Table 4.11 for gender representation of all three genres. Table 4.11. Genres Frequently Mentione d among Sub-level C Boys and Girls Genre Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Funny 10 67 9 60 Scary 5 33 5 33 Drawing 6 40 0 0 Students associated one of the three genres to a wide span of books. I found only a few patterns when examining the specific genres and books that individual students connected with them. First, 8 partic ipants (6 boys) labeled a book in the Captain


68 Underpants series as a funny book. Four boys and 2 girls called four or more of their books funny. Next, 6 of the 10 participants described a book in the Goosebumps series as a scary book. One boy selected four books that he called scary. Last, boys labeled either How to Draw Spider Man (Scholastic Inc., 2003b) or books in the Captain Underpants series as drawing books. Sources of Familiarity with Selected Books During interviews, students provided inform ation about their familiarity with books they selected. Students of ten became familiar with a bookÂ’ s topic, series, fictional character, or genre because of their familiarity stemming from several sources. I categorized these sources into the following ax ial codes: (a) media; (b) other people; (c) read before; (d) life e xperience; and (e) book features. In the following section, I discuss these individual codes that represent sources of studentsÂ’ familiarity with their book selections. Media An overwhelming number of 26 Sub-level C participants stated that a media source, which consisted of a television show, movie, song, or video game, was the source of their familiarity with at least one book. Girl participants talked about a media source more often than boys, 93% and 80% respectively. However, boys were more likely than girls to relate four or more of their b ooks to a media source; eight boys and 5 girls exhibited this behavior. The majority of the book titles that st udents connected to a media source in the spontaneous talk data set appeared in this data set with increased frequency, as shown in Table 4.12.


69 Table 4.12. Book Titles Frequently Familiar through a Media Source among Sub-level C Boys and Girls Book Titles Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls Pop People: Destiny's Child (Glass, 2001) 3 20 5 33 Hangin' with Lil' Romeo: Backstage Pass (Walsh, 2002) and/or Pop People: Lil' Romeo (Morreale, 2003) 6 40 7 47 Hangin' with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a) 0 0 7 47 Meet the Stars of Professional Wrestling (Preller, 2000) 3 20 1 7 Wild in the USA (Hammerslough, 2003a) and/or Animal Planet: Snakes Face to Face (Hammerslough, 2003b) 1 7 3 20 One or more book titles in the Harry Potter series 4 27 2 13 Batman Guide to Crime and Detection (Teitelbaum, 2003) or Batman, the Copycat Crime (Grayson, Byrne, & Kane, 2003) 3 20 0 0 How to Draw Spider Man (Scholastic Inc., 2003b) and/or Spider ManÂ’s Amazing Powers (Buckley, 2001) 3 20 0 0 History Channel: The Real Scorpion King (Banks, 2003) 4 27 0 0 Other 8 53 4 27 Most of the time when girl participants such as Tia and Nicole linked a book with a media source, they were talking about one of the top four most frequently selected books. Book selected: HanginÂ’ with Hilary Duff (Scholastic Inc., 2003a)


70 LW So what about this one. Why’d you choose Hilary Hilary Duff? Tia ‘Cause she play (off) the Lizzy McGuire and that my favorite show. Book selected: Pop People: Lil’ Romeo (Morreale, 2003) LW Okay, so Liza tell me about w hy um you got those other books that I kinda jotted books down. Nicole Um Little Romeo is he like at first I used to like Little Romeo ‘cause he be like he got songs and shows and now it’s books. While some boy participants also related th e top four most ofte n selected books to a media source, boys were more likely than gi rls to discuss familiarity through a media source with books featuring a superhero. In th e following two excerpts, Jon and Darius talk about seeing a superhero on either a movie or video game. LW Now tell me about why you want that spider, How to Draw Spiderman book. Jon Because I love his movies. LW Hmm mm. Jon And he’s like a very good um actor in some of ‘em. LW Alright. Tell me about why you got Batman: Guide to Crime . Darius Oh, because I got the um um Play Station 2 Batman game, and it it was real real fun. So I wanted to r ead the book about more Spid um Batman stuff. Other People Often participants became familiar with books through other people such as adults at school, family, and friends. Among Sublevel C participants, all boys and 14 girls stated that someone assisted in their familia rity with at least one of their books. Fiftythree percent of both boys and girls stated this for four or more of their books. While the same percentage of boys and girls discussed their peers as a sour ce of familiarity, 20%


71 more girls stated adults at school and family members were familiarity sources as shown in Table 4.13. Table 4.13. Other People Assisting in Familiari ty of Books among Sub-level C Boys and Girls Other People Number of Boys Percentage of Boys Number of Girls Percentage of Girls School 8 53 11 73 Family 7 47 10 67 Friends 7 47 7 47 Two patterns surfaced when participants discussed other people as a source of familiarity. First, other people made part icipants aware of certain books, book topics, fictional characters, and book authors by providing access to these books, reading the books themselves, and talking to participan ts about the books. Secondly, other people reminded participants of a book’s topic or fictional character. I include excerpts demonstrating both patterns as I discuss st udents’ familiarity through other people. School. The two most commonly me ntioned ways that adults at school assisted in students’ familiarity with selected books included reading books aloud and offering access to books. Excerpts from Charlotte and Isis provide examples. LW And then 2-1-5-2… A Bad Case of Stripes . Why did you choose that? Charlotte ‘Cause it was a favorite book to me. LW How did you learn about that book? Charlotte When my ah teacher read it to us. ‘Cause it shows you how you get stripes and get other kind of colors like checkers, a checkerboard, like that and the American flaaaag. LW And then um Junie B. Jones . Have you seen Junie B. Jones books before?


72 Isis Yes, ‘cause I love Junie B. Jones . My teacher, she has ‘em. A few students reported that featuring a book as the Book of the Month or on the morning announcements and studying certain topics included in books were other ways that adults at school helped them to become familiar with chosen books. Students referred to a variety of book tit les that adults at school ta lked about, read, or owned. Most of these books were fiction, and about half belonged to one of the series previously mentioned in this data set. Family. Parents and siblings, typically men tioned family members, also aided in familiarity with chosen books. Approxima tely half of the books reported were nonfiction, and about one-third were books from a type of series acknowledged during the interviews. Rarely did participants mention choosing books because a family member had read them aloud before. Inst ead, participants commonly thought family members would like the books. Sometimes partic ipants, such as Andrea, commented that they thought a family member would like them to read a particular kind of book. Book selected: Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask II (Stine, 2004) LW And then you picked quite a few Goosebumps books and I know that you told me a little bit earlier, tell me more about why you like Goosebumps so much. Andrea It’s because my mom wants it’s because my mom wants me to um to keep getin’ Goosebumps books so she can order it and see how much they cost, so so I can have some I can have a collection like a whole bunch of Goosebumps books so that I can read it. LW So tell me more about what what does your mom want. Say that again. Andrea She wants Goosebumps books for me to read. LW Okay, does she like to read them too? Andrea No, she haven’t touched none of ‘em.


73 Other times participants thought family me mbers would personally like certain books and ordered them as gifts. LW So what about The Real Scorpion King ? Tell me about why you got that book. Joshua I got that for my daddy ‘cau se he like watchin’ the movies and Scorpion King and all that. We (had the unclear) movie. Additionally, participants t hought they would lik e selected books, particularly books within a series, because they knew family members read them. Book selected: Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1 (Pilkey, 2003a) Liza Captain Underpants um my sister she kind of read him and we have one at home and I just wanted to read see more about Captain Underpants. Friends. Some participants expressed a desi re to read books that their friends enjoyed, particularly books with in one of the series that st udents had talked about during the interviews. Five participants mentioned friends reading books in the Captain Underpants series; most of these participants included girls, such as Leon and Lena. LW Alright, so le t’s look at 4-7-7, The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby . You told me a little bit about that. Tell me more about why you chose that book. Leon Because my friend just told me to get that because it’s got the little boy uh there’s this boy in my class, he loves Captain Underpants , and he can draw them really good. LW Have you read any Captain Underpants books before? Lena No. LW Have you heard about them before? Lena Yea.


74 LW Who? Who told you about them? Lena My friends. Read Before Familiarity also stemmed from students previously reading a book or, typically, a book within its series. John exp licitly informed me that he previously read a book from the Hey L’il D series. Like many students, John did not select the exact book that he had previously read. The series, not the same book, appeared to be more important. LW Tell me about why you got the Hey L’il D books. John Oh, Hey L’il D because when I was in my cousin house one time she had she had Hey L’il she had Hey L’il D Take the Court . And I read the whole book while I was over there and they inster (interesting) and they and they was good and they was a good book that’s why I picked it ‘cause hhh he was lik e playin’ basketball and st uff and he had parents to deal with and (stuff) like that and that’s what. LW So what book did she have, which one of Hey L’il D ? John She had. LW Do you remember? Was it that one in particular or was it another L’il D ? John It was it was Hey L’il D Take the Court. LW Okay /So you didn’t/ John /I didn’t/ get it. Twenty-six Sub-level C students confirmed th at they previously read a book or a book from the same series prior to the book fair . Out of the 12 boys w ho mentioned reading a book or its series before, 5 stated this for four or more of thei r selected books. Half of the girl participants who discussed previously reading a book or its seri es replicated this behavior.


75 Life Experience LW Tell me about why you chose What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You ? Lou Because sheÂ’s kind of like me and stuff because I always boss my little sister around. SheÂ’s that tall though. LW WhoÂ’s that tall? Lou My sister. Book selected: Bernie Williams: Quiet Leader (Stewart, 1998) LW What about the Bernie Williams . Tell me about why you got that one. Takira I used to play baseball. Each of the above excerpts represents a life experience as a source of familiarity. Sometimes students had a prior experience that related to a fictional character like Lou who connected with a character who also had a sister. Some students related to a bookÂ’s topic due to a previous li fe experience such as Takira who played baseball. Several students connected topics of books w ith plans for future life experiences. For example, Jarvis selected a book about b ecoming a president because that was one of his goals in life. LW Hmm mmm. Um, So You Want to be President. Tell me about that. Jarvis I want to become maybe the fi rst Black president if I get like higher than football. Another participant, Kia, had future plans to try belly dancing. She got a book about Shakira, a famous singer, who often used that style of dance when performing. Book selected: Celebrity Bios: Shakira (Rivera, 2003) LW Tell me about why you got the Shakira book. Kia I like how she do her belly da ncinÂ’. I wanna try to do them.


76 All but 1 Sub-level C particip ant stated a connection with a life experience and one or more books. Six students mentioned life experiences for four or more books; five of these participants were boys. While girls us ually connected life e xperiences with fiction books, boys linked life experiences with both fiction and nonfi ction titles. Many of the nonfiction books that boys connected with life experiences were books including sports. Book Features Eighty percent of the interview particip ants, both genders equally represented, identified outside and/or inside characteri stics of one or more books. Four boys and 1 girl acknowledged characteristic s for four or more of their book selections. Students mentioned inside characteristics such as the illustrations, flip-o-rama, and stickers. More frequently, participants commented on a book’ s outside characteristics, which usually consisted of the cover and title. Rodney explicitly st ated the influence of a book’s cover. LW And then tell me about why you got the Usborne Book of Racing Cars . Rodney Um this one?...Th thi, I don’t know w hy I got this one. I just wanted it. LW Yea? Rodney ‘Cause race cars on it and it got a lot of cars that I like. As data collection proceeded, it seemed like students who did not state the other sources of familiarity only relied upon a book’s feature, usually the cover, to encourage them to select a particular book. Some stude nts, unlike Rodney, did not explicitly state the influence of a book feature but used word s like “it seemed” or “I guessed,” leading me to wonder if their predictions were ba sed upon the visual stimulus of the cover, especially since their predictions usually matched the cover’s illustration. I insert a selection from an interview with Kathi as an example of this tendency. LW And then tell me about um Swamp Monster in Third Grade.


77 Kathi Oh I had never read that book before so I wanted to s ee ‘cause it looked interesting so I wanted to look at that book. LW Neat, so Kathi you said that before that you um I think it was Hey Little D. It looked interesting. You never read those books before. And I think um I why tell me you know how can it look interesting to you, The Swamp Monster in Third Grade? Kathi Because it was like um I (kept) on being a really a really good book. And I’m goin’ really like it and LW But tell me about what made you think that. Out of all those books, how come that one looked like that? How come it looks so /(unclear)/ Kathi /’Cause/ I never read that book before either. LW Yea? But did um The Swamp Monster, did, when you saw it, what made it look so interesting that you said I gotta have it? Kathi Like when they was like it seem like they were gonna be pickin’ on him and stuff and while he come to sc hool he was a monster not a kid or a human and so he should to go um go to the dinosaur school or monster school and (unclear) at a human sc hool. They gonna be pickin’ on him and or they might make friends with him. Like like one person might be his friend and the other ones, they mi ght be they might don’t. They might be pickin’ on him. LW So um, have you heard it have you seen that book before? Kathi No ma’am. LW So how do you know about all what you just said? Kathi ‘Cause I’ll be I was thinking. LW Oh, okay. I like I think that is grea t. So were you looking at the cover to think about all that? Is th at what made you think all that? Kathi Yes ma’am. Several boy participants mentioned an in side book feature wh en selecting a book from the Captain Underpants series. Leon and Jason commented upon a variety of book features that they planned to enjoy when receiving a book within this series.


78 LW What about Captain Underpants makes it so funny? Leon That um that the the people names in and other stuff. Like like dis one you get to uh you get ta make your own stories and draw your own people in it. And this one. ItÂ’s got stickers. LW Yep, yep. Leon They got um, they got word puzzles, and um, flip o ramas. Book selected: The Captain Underpants Extra-Chunky Book O'Fun #1 (Pilkey, 2001) Jason /Here/ go a word word search puz zle. This is how you draw Captain Underpants and this the maze. This the comic book and here go the word search puzzle and here go how to draw the turbo toilet. Summary of StudentsÂ’ Talk during Interviews When coding data from studentsÂ’ talk during interviews, I discovered the same axial codes from the previous data set. I or ganized four of these codes: (a) topic; (b) series; (c) fictional char acters; and (d) genre, around the selective code, studentsÂ’ descriptions of selected books. When co mparing findings from studentsÂ’ talk during interviews with studentsÂ’ s pontaneous talk during thei r book selections, these codes increasingly appeared in the data and a pplied to more books. Additionally, similar gender patterns reoccurred with the exception that more girls than boys related books to a series during interviews. I grouped media, an axial code from the pr evious set, with additional axial codes that I found in the interview data (other people, read be fore, life experience, and book features) and organized them around the sel ective code, sources of familiarity with selected books. Girls were more likely than boys to discuss the media as a source of familiarity, particularly with the top four most selected books. On the other hand, boys more often stated that the media was a source of familiarity for books including superheroes. Other people were a source of familiarity, particularly among fiction books,


79 for both genders with similar frequency. B oys and girls stated reading a book before, typically a book within a series, with similar frequency. Almost all of the participants mentioned a life experience as a source of fam iliarity. Girls referred to life experiences more often as a reason for selecting ficti on books, while boys mentioned life experiences as a reason for selecting both fiction and nonf iction books. Book featur es, particularly of fiction books, were a source of familiarity for both genders with equal representation.


80 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS Economically disadvantaged Black students have too often been reported as lowachieving readers. The sole act of reading is a crucial component in assisting these students to become successful readers. T hose who provide students access to reading materials must gain information about books that will motivate students to want to read. While studies that examine studentsÂ’ book sele ctions can provide valuable insight into books that may entice students to read, very few past studies included economically disadvantaged participants. Furthermore, pr evious studies typically focused on studentsÂ’ selections in the classroom or school library, a setting th at often does not offer what students actually want to read. This study identified books commonly se lected by economically disadvantaged Black students and explored th e reasons participants offere d for choosing certain books. Participants of this study we re given the opportunity to se lf-select and own 12 books in a book fair setting that included more than 400 books representing a wide range of genre and topics. Some of the most preferred books represented media and mass marketing interests of students, types of books rarely mentioned in previ ous book selection studies. What Books Did Particip ants Commonly Select? This studyÂ’s first question asked, What books do economically disadvantaged Black students commonly select to own in a setting that allows them to choose from approximately 400 specific books? To answer this question, I first compared the top 20 book selections of two groups. The fi rst group, Level A students, included 293


81 economically disadvantaged Black students. The second group, Sub-level B students, consisted of 40 of the Level A students. Ninety percent of the books on Sub-level B participantsÂ’ top 20 list appear ed on Level A participantsÂ’ to p 20 list. This discovery increased my confidence that the choices of the sub-group, a group that provided insight about why they selected certain books, refl ected those of the larger Level A group. I examined specific aspects of the top 20 books selected by Sub-level B participants. The findings of book selection studi es are highly dependent on what books are offered to students. Most of the book se lection studies discussed in the literature re view did not report providing books representing media a nd mass marketing interests, books that participants in this study often selected. Nonetheless, I compared some of the broad, general findings of this study with th ose in the literature review. Participants in this study commonly sele cted more fiction than nonfiction books, a finding that confirms the results of previous studies (Anderson et al., 1985; Castaneda, 1995; Doiron, 2003; Henry; 1992; Laumbach, 1994; Robinson et al., 1997; Simpson, 1996; Wiberg & Trost, 1970; Zimet & Camp, 1974). Students may select more fiction books because most teachers are female and te nd to emphasize more fictional rather than informational reading (Simpson, 1996). Thes e experiences may allow students to be more familiar with fiction books, and thus choos e them more often than nonfiction books. Additionally, school and classroom libraries have been report ed to contain more fiction than nonfiction books (Doiron, 2003; Simpson, 1996). Students may be more familiar with fiction books and select them more th an nonfiction books because they are often disproportionately offered at school. Furthermore, book sele ction studies conducted in a school or classroom library may skew data showing students prefer more fiction books


82 because of their overrepresentation. In this study, a comparable number of fiction and nonfiction books were offered, and student s still chose more fiction books. Approximately one-third of the top 20 books selected were nonfiction. In fact, the top four most frequently selected books repr esented this genre. Regardless of gender, participants selected a similar number of nonfiction books. This finding is in contrast with several past studies th at found boys were more like ly to select a nonfiction book than girls (Doiron, 2003; Mohr, 2003; Simps on, 1996; Wiberg & Trost, 1970). One reason for this difference in selection was th e particular type of nonfiction books offered in the book fair. The top four books that st udents commonly selected represented media interests, a type of book rarely mentioned in previous book selection studies. An additional finding indicated that boys most often chose books with male characters or famous people on the covers. On ly 4 boy participants selected one of the four top 20 books with females on the covers. Girls appeared to be less influenced by the gender representation on a book’s cover when se lecting books. They we re just as likely to select books with covers only including boys as they were to choose books with only girls on the covers. This implies that the boy participants were more gender sensitive when selecting books than girls. One boy pa rticipant’s spontaneous talk during the book fair supports this notion. When a female stude nt walked over to an area of the book fair where books about superheroes were located and began to write the book number for Spiderman’s Amazing Powers (Buckley, 2001), he stated, “It’s boy (story). You don’t like no Spiderman. This boy (story ). This the boy section.” When analyzing Black and White racial representation on book covers, boys most frequently selected books with both races displayed. The majority of these books were


83 series books, such as Captain Underpants and Hey L’il D . Perhaps the series, not the race of the characters, could be more influe ntial on boys’ book selections. Girls most often chose books with Black characters or fa mous people represented on covers. Most of these books were biographies of people who were popularized through the media. It is interesting that more than half of the girl s selected a biography about Hilary Duff, a White contemporary, popular actress and singer. This finding suggests that girls may be paying more attention to books that featur e popular people than books with people of similar skin tones. Most of the top 20 book selections for Level A and Sub-leve l B participants represented media and mass marketing interests. I became intrigued with the overwhelming influence that these books had on participants in this study. Hade and Edmonson (2003) provided information abou t the book publishing industry that shed light on this discovery. The au thors stated that within the past few decades, neoliberal principles have increasingly influenced book publishing. They defined “neoliberalism” as a political ideology that “em phasizes capitalistic, or so-called ‘free market’ principles in all areas of social, political, and business life” (Hade & Edmonson, 2003, p. 136). Furthermore, these ideologies have (1) become a dominant force in our society; (2) aided in the priority of economic investments over social investments; (3 ) negatively affected the “social safety nets” for the economically disadvantaged; and (4) resulted in fewer people with economic wealth and power. In terms of book publishing, this has resulted in an emphasis on books that will sell instead of books containing ideas that should be shared with many others (Hade & Edmonson, 2003).


84 One increasing trend of book publishers ha s been to join major corporations through mergers in order to publish books that reflect media interests. Scholastic, the publisher of the majority of the books offe red in this study, has a media and licensing division that helps in the pr oduction of television programs, CDs, games, movies, dolls, and other items of merchandise based upon its books. Hade and Edmondson (2003) stated that publishers such as Scholastic are more interested in licensing agreements than in bringing good stories to students. Furtherm ore, they argued that instead of getting students to read, the publishing company is more concerned in cross-promotion to encourage students to consume as much mercha ndise as possible. For example, in the companyÂ’s mind, a child who buys a Clifford movie is the same as the child who purchases a Clifford book. In both cases, the child is consuming the idea of Clifford. Book publishers are seeking stories that can be licensed and incorpor ated across products and media. In 1999, all the top 20 best-selli ng hardcover childrenÂ’s books were licensed, which demonstrates the influence and n ear-monopoly of these co rporations (Hade & Edmondson, 2003). Taxel (2002) stated that a book may precede a movie or television show, as was the case for the Harry Potter and Goosebumps series, which were represented on this studyÂ’s top 20 book list. He also pointed out that a movie or television show might inspire a book. This was the case for the four most ofte n selected books in this study that were biographies of people highly visi ble in the media. In both cases, Taxel argued that the goal is to promote an idea through multiple sources, or as Hade and Edmondson (2003) would say, as many containers as possible.


85 The publishers’ desire for profits has influenced the development of mass marketing and book series. Once the sales’ r ecords of a children’s book are shown to be lucrative, the publisher becomes interested in duplicating the successful results. Some books include the same characters or plot lin es to create predictable products which usually attract many inundated with Western popular culture. Out of the top 10 bestselling paperback books of 2000, 4 were series books. In 2001, three of the top five hardback books purchased were part of a se ries (Taxel, 2002). The impact of series books on book selections cannot be denied in th is study. More than 80% of the top 20 books belonged to a series. Not all the books offered in this stud y were representative of media and mass marketing interests. Several books had won a literary award mentioned in Chapter 3 that would probably lead many educators as we ll as Taxel, Hade, and Edmondson to automatically label them as “quality lite rature.” Additionally , some of the books provided in this study included topics that complemented the school’s curriculum, as mandated by state standards. However, student s in this study rarely chose these books. Instead, they were usually drawn to the books that reflected media and mass marketing interests, thus validati ng the publisher’s successful marketing strategies. Why Did Participants Select Certain Books? Two data sources provided insight into this study ’s second question, Why did participants select certain books? The first da ta source included the spontaneous talk of 40 Sub-level B students duri ng their book selections. A wireless microphone was attached to each Sub-level B participant and audio signals were sent to a cassette deck. This allowed students’ talk to themselves and to each other about why they were selecting books to be tape recorded. Th e second data source consisted of students’


86 responses to interview questions after their book selections. Participants in this data source, Sub-level C participants, consisted of 30 students who came from the Sub-level B group. These students engaged in an individual semi-structured interview with me about why they selected each of their 15 books. All interviews were tape recorded. I transcribed data from both sources th at consisted of approximately 565 pages . I then coded the data using open, axial, and sele ctive codes to form a grounded theory about why students selected certain books. The theory that this study posits is th at students’ descrip tions of their book selections were influenced by sources of familiarity. The everyday culture (Alvermann & Xu, 2003) of students was a common thread that ran throughout th e descriptions and sources of familiarity. Often students knew about a book’s topic, fictional character, series, or genre because of the influence of the media and mass marketing that had permeated students’ everyda y culture and, in turn, im pacted book selections. Media sources, such as songs, televi sion shows, movies, and video games, impacted who and what was represented in students’ book selections. Students often stated simply liking people or characters in books because they had seen or heard of them through the media. The media was a part of their everyday culture that they valued and wanted to be reflected in the materials that they chose. Girl participants commonly selected books because they included singers whom they had seen on television or heard about on the radio. Usually, these were the books that girl participants were most excited about , as indicated by thei r elevated voice levels and time spent looking through th e books with one another. A common response when first seeing these books in the book fair was, “O hhh! There’s [name of singer]!” This


87 excited response would draw additional girl s to the book, and a community of girls would form as they intensely examined the book and talked about a favorite singer. The admiration for these singers was apparent. Some girls explicitly stated that they wanted to be like a certain female singer, particul arly with regard to physical appearance. Additionally, girls typi cally spent the most time talki ng about these books during their spontaneous talk and interviews, indicating an intense interest and de sire to absorb these materials. On the other hand, superheroes were the favored characters seen on television among many of the boy participants. Strength and superpowers of these characters were qualities that captured th eir attention. Superh eroes appeared to stimulate boysÂ’ interest the most as they talked for extended amount s of time about these books and often formed communities of superhero admirers. Some re searchers have found superheroes to be of such interest to students, part icularly boys, that they encourag e the use of these characters in the school world to motivate students Â’ learning (Alvermann & Xu, 2003; Dyson, 1994). The mass marketing of series books also had a strong influence on why students selected books. Participants often referred to a book not by its title but by its series. They often knew the characters in these books and predicted what w ould happen to them because of previously reading a book in the series or hearing about the series through someone else. Boy participants were frequently drawn toward the Captain Underpants series that included a superhero as one of the main characters. The characters, humor, and unique book features such as the flip-o-r ama attracted many boy participants. While


88 girls were often influenced by the mass marketin g of series books, a pa rticular series did not commonly attract them. Relevance for Literacy Students who read more tend to be successful readers. The question then becomes, What makes a student want to read? This has been a question frequently asked by educators. Motivation is at the heart of this question. Th e results of a national survey showed that motivating students was the gr eatest concern among teachers (O’Flahavan, Gambrell, Guthrie, Stahl, & Alvermann, 1992). Broadly, motivation explores why people engage in certain beha viors (Deci & Ryan, 1985). On e construct, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, is prominent in the fiel d of motivation and cr ucial in understanding why people make certain choi ces (Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997). Extrinsic motivation refers to a regulation, which stems from out side of the person (Wigfield, Eccles, & Rodriguez, 1998), such as working to receive a reward or grade. Intrinsic motivation is characterized as internally regulated and completing a task based upon interest or curiosity (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Wi gfield et al., 1998). “Flow” has been a term used to describe the ultimate experience when obtaining intrinsic motivation. Characteristics of flow include being involved w ith an activity for its satisfact ion, loss of ego and time, and unity with surroundings (Csikszentmihalyi , 1978; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997). Wigfield and Guthrie (1997) indicated that there is greater importance in being intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated. This 2 year longitudinal study explored fourthand fifth-gr aders’ reading motivation a nd how it related to reading volume and breadth. The Mo tivation for Reading Ques tionnaire (MRQ) assessed different aspects of reading motivation. Diaries and questio nnaires were used to assess


89 reading amount and breadth. A major finding of this st udy revealed that intrinsic motivation indicators were more significant th an indicators of extrinsic motivation in determining children’s reading volume and br eadth. Furthermore, previous reading volume and breadth were important predictors of future reading. Baker and Wigfield (1999) used the MRQ and a questionnaire in a study consisting of fifthand sixthgraders. They discovered that intrinsic motivation dimensions correlated at statistically significant levels with reading frequency. Gottfried (1990) stated, “Development of academic intrinsic motivation in young children is an important goal for educators because of its inherent importance for future motivation, as well as for childr en’s effective school functio ning” (p. 537). Fostering a child’s intrinsic motivation for reading in the classroom can produce both shortand long-term benefits. Children intrinsically mo tivated to read tend to read more, which has been associated with higher levels of readi ng achievement. It is im perative that educators gain insight about what tri ggers intrinsic motivation for economically disadvantaged Black students to voluntarily read so that the achievement gap among them and their White counterparts can dissipate. The context of this study provided choi ce, an important element for intrinsic motivation. Many studies have found that provi ding students with choice increased their intrinsic motivation. When students were perm itted to make decisions, they were more likely to attain interest and commitment to those decisions (Guthr ie & Anderson, 1999). One participant expressed his appreciation of choice that was offered at the book fair. LW So tell me, what’d you think about the book fair? Sean I think it was great. I think it was great and I like I like when we get to pick our own books to read.

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90 LW Yeah? Sean ‘Ca ‘Cause some books people other people pick we like don’t we don’t like like it ‘cause ‘cause we like the like we start readin’ it and it be like sometimes it be startin’ off stupid. Turner (1995) examined the effects of tw o instructional contexts on motivation for literacy using 84 first-graders who were equa lly divided among the contexts. The first context included a basal reader curriculum th at mostly included individual seatwork, teacher-directed reading groups, and minimal ag ency. The second context consisted of a whole language curriculum. The amount of ag ency increased as this curriculum used whole and small group instruction as well as sel f-selected texts. Self-report measures and observations indicated that st udents in the second learni ng context were more engaged, used elaborate strategies, and were more interested in literacy. Daily classroom tasks, not the district-led reading program, were the most reliable indicator of motivation in Tu rner and Paris’ study (1995). Classrooms that provided open-ended tasks in which students were in co ntrol of learning and allowed to approach tasks as problem-solvers— instead of “exercise completers”—positively affected students’ motivation. These classrooms allo wed the students choi ce in selecting tasks that were personally interesti ng and of value to “demonstrate to students that literacy means pursuing personal aesthetic and informational goals” (p. 665). One study examined teachers’ perceptions of students’ intrinsic motivation for reading (Sweet, Ng, & Guthrie, 1998). Teach ers believed providing choices, such as allowing students to self-select books, increase d students’ interest a nd the amount of time that they spent reading. They rated aut onomy as the strongest indicator of reading motivation for low-achieving students and rate d inherent qualities (being engrossed in

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91 reading) for high-achieving students. This finding has important implications for economically disadvantaged Black students who are disproportionately labeled as “lowachieving.” Guice (1992) discovered that a good book, according to students, was often a book that they had chosen. Similarly, Gambre ll, Codling, and Palmer (1996) found that children perceived books that they were able to select themse lves as the most interesting books. They stated, “Even ‘reluctant readers’ will be more likely to read when they can select materials that are of interest to th em” (p. 68). While choice is a component of intrinsic motivation, those providing students with access to books need to know what interests students so that books can be availa ble that match those interests. “Real choice can only occur when students have opportuni ties to read materials that are personally interesting to them” (Worthy et al., 1999, p. 490). If students are given a choice of reading a book about bats or a book about hor ses, they would select one of the books, however, neither one may represent a strong in terest. Two other elements of intrinsic motivation should be considered when d eciding what books to make available for students during their self-selections so that their choices are repres entative of genuine interests. These elements are id entity and social interaction. Purves and Beach (1972) stated, “People tend to get more involved in that which is related to them, and they tend to seek the work with which they can identify, or the character who resembles them” (p. 18). Brune r (1986) concurred with these researchers when stating that characters in a story can be compelling to a read er who highly identifies with them. Identity is a co mplex construct. It can be defined as a dynamic organization of sub-identities that can be contrary to or complementary of one another (McCarthey,

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92 2001). Typically, it is the ethnic background of a child’s identity that educators focus upon when trying to provide reading materials with which students can identify. This is due in part to multicultural education theori sts who have emphasized the importance of offering students access to reading materials that allow students to see themselves. These theorists argue that reading ma terials offered in United Stat es schools most often reflect an Anglo-Saxon culture, thus ma rginalizing minority students’ experiences and cultures. Furthermore, they believe minority students ar e alienated because of cultural differences. Schools can assist through negotiating diffe rences in school and home cultures by providing access to reading materi als that reflect stude nts’ ethnic cultur es. Multicultural theorists believe students will become highly motivated to read when they see their cultures and experiences reflected (Banks & Banks, 2001; Ferdman, 1990; Harris, 1995). While this appears to be a logical conclusion, there is little empiri cal evidence to support this concept. Participants in this study were often motivated to sele ct books that represented an aspect of their identity that they cherishe d—the media and mass marketing interests that permeated their everyday culture. It was obvious from the books students chose and the reasons they provided for their selections that this aspect of their everyday culture was the prominent factor. Other researchers have recognized the importance students place on media and mass marketing interests. Dy son (2003) conducted an ethnographic study in which she observed and audiotaped African American first-graders on the playground and during writing activities. She found that popular media was a major impetus in formulating the child’s world. After recogn izing that anime, a popular media form, was driving students’ personal reading, Mahar (2003) joined a lunch group where students

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93 discussed this art form. Her intention was to learn more a bout this sub-identity of her students and allow this literacy practice in the “school world.” It seems as though providing students with reading materials that reflect media and ma ss marketing interests which are embedded in their everyday culture s are more likely to be motivating than materials that include their ethnic background. Intertwined with a person’s identity are th e various social interactions in which a person engages (Gee, 2000). Social interac tion has been recognized as fundamental in motivation (Turner, 1995). Guice (1992) stated, “It is with in the boundaries of communities that readers grow as readers” (p. 46). The concept of a community of readers was reported by Hepler and Hickman (1982) who obser ved the power of social interaction on students’ reading. They noted that what children did with books and said about books was influenced by other people. Dyson (1998) stated that commercial media contributed to a sense of colle ctive identity as students us ed this material to bond with each other and learn more about images displa yed in this culture. In this study, students were most likely to form communities ar ound books that reflected media and mass marketing interests. Since most of the books representing these interests were ones with which many students could identify, they prov ided a springboard fo r students’ social interactions. Students did not hover over books or talk about books like they did with those that featured media and mass marketi ng interests. Their common knowledge about and interest in this culture enabled discu ssion to occur and a community to form. For some students, this community extended outsi de of the book fair. Several participants stated that teachers were a source of familia rity for series books by either reading them aloud or providing access to them in the classroom library. Some participants

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94 additionally stated that a frie nd or family member read or told them about a particular series or admired a famous person. Implications One consideration that cannot be overlooke d as educators strive to close the achievement gap and assist economically disadvantaged Black students in becoming successful readers is the books that they make accessible to students at school. In order for students to be motivated to read on th eir own, books that interest them must be available. This study found that books re flecting studentsÂ’ media and mass marketing interests can provide such motivation. E ducators should continuously be aware of the media and mass marketing interests of students so that they can provi de reading materials that mirror these interests. When considering the New York TimesÂ’ best-seller lists, it can be surmised that this implication extends to students from economically advantaged backgrounds who have funds to purchase books. Media and mass marketing interests are consistently reflected in the books included on these best-seller lists. Biographies of contemporary famous people, particularly singers, should be offered in schools to encourage the amount of nonfiction reading am ong students, particularly girls. Previous research has shown that boys are more likely than girls to select nonfiction books (Doiron, 2003; Mohr, 2003; Simpson, 1996; Wiberg & Trost, 1970). In this study, girls were as likely as boys to select a nonfiction book, mostly because they chose biographies of admired singers. This particular kind of nonfiction book may help female students become more familiar with and comfortable reading informational text and lead to more nonfiction book selections. Another implication of this study is that mass marke ting works. Students knew about many of the books that they selected fr om a media source or reading a book within

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95 a particular series that had been mass mark eted and were eager, as Hade and Edmonson (2003) stated, to “consume” these products. St udents were apparently sold on the ideas contained within these books such as L il’ Romeo, a popular singer and actor, and Goosebumps , a book and television series. The process of book selections should be discussed in classrooms. Educators should model how they select their own books for personal reading to assist students in becoming metacognitive as they make their book selections. Block and Israel (2004) recommended that teachers describe what attr acted themselves to certain books, such as the topic, author’s writing st yle, and depth of vocabulary. Very few students in this study mentioned selecting a book because of its readability, which is an important aspect to consider for engaging in reading. When modeling and individually conferencing with students about their book choices, teachers can gently guide students to broaden the topics, genre, series, and aut hors that are represented in th eir selections. Media and mass marketing interests were a prominent influe nce on students’ sel ections. Although it is necessary to encourage students to read about familiar characters and topics, as educators we must encourage them to become risk-t akers and expand their reading repertoire. While award-winning books were offered in this study, participants rarely chose them. This finding has important implicati ons for teachers and librarians who tend to make these books readily available in school s (Worthy et al., 1999). Reading these books aloud or celebrating them through the Book of the Month program could familiarize students with these books and encourage students to read them. These strategies appear to be effective in broadening students’ select ions as several participants specifically mentioned them when explaining why they chose specific books.

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96 Findings from this study emphasize the importance of providing time for students to interact and discuss book sele ctions with one another. Th e communities that formed in the book fairs, particularly surrounding books that reflected media and mass marketing interests, appeared to be hi ghly motivating to students. A dditionally, in their interview responses, participants frequently mentioned selecting a book because of peer recommendation. Other researchers also found that peers had a significant impact on the books that students chose (Campbell, Griswo ld, & Smith, 1988; Henry, 1992; Kragler, 2000). Limitations This study had the following limitations: 1. The studyÂ’s participant focus may prohib it generalizing conclusions to other populations. 2. Books in the overall selection and placed in themed bins could have limited studentsÂ’ choices. 3. One interview with each child, as opposed to multiple interviews, may have hindered further insight into why stud ents selected certain books. 4. The race of the researcher could have impacted the participantsÂ’ comments. Further Research Further research should be conducted in the area of studentsÂ’ book selections. Students from other age groups, socioec onomic backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, and geographical areas could select from the same set of books to indicate if texts that reflected media and mass marketing interests would have a similar influence as participants in this study. A further study th at examines techniques that teachers utilize to expand studentsÂ’ book selections is also recommended. During a book fair in Year 2 of the longitudinal study, one unscientific obs ervation included a number of students at a

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97 particular school being familiar with and talk ing to one another about books that included African American themes. It would be intere sting to examine the practices of educators at this school to see how they fostered fam iliarity with and appreciation for these books. An additional study could be completed to dete rmine if students would be more likely to select books that had been read aloud by teachers than books reflective of media and mass marketing interests in a book fair setti ng. While studies have shown that reading volume correlates with reading achievement, there is little information about whether or not what books students are reading affects ach ievement. A question for further research is, Will reading predominantly books reflecti ng media and mass marketing interests lead to higher reading achievement? Furthermore, research should be c onducted to investigate the role of this kind of text in the development of life-long readers.

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98 APPENDIX A STUDENT BOOK ORDER FORM Student Name: _______________________________________________ Teacher Name: _______________________________________________ Grade: 3rd 4th 5th School: Anderson Birkenstawk Blossom Daniels Friendly Galvin Gator Henderson Oxford Stefan

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99 APPENDIX B BOOKS AVAILABLE AT THE BOOK FAIR Title Category Award 101 Silly Monster Jokes Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry 101 Silly Summertime Jokes Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry 13 Scary Ghost Stories Scary Stories 2004 Year in Sports Sports A Ballad of the Civil Wa r All About U.S. A Book about Planets and Stars Space A Day in Space Space A Dinosaur Named Sue Reptile/Amphibians A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning Unfortunate Events A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Carnivorous Carnival Unfortunate Events A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Ersatz Elevator Unfortunate Events A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill Unfortunate Events A to Z Mysteries II: The Goose's Gold A-Z Mysteries A to Z Mysteries II: The Haunted Hotel A-Z Mysteries A to Z Mysteries II: The Invisible Island A-Z Mysteries A to Z Mysteries II: The Jaguar's Jewel A-Z Mysteries A True Book: Africa Fun Facts A Wrinkle in Time Fantasy Newbery Medal A biyoyo Musicians A braham's Battle All About U.S. A frican-Americans in the Old West All About U.S. A ll about Alligators Reptile/Amphibians A ll about Rattlesnakes Reptile/Amphibians A ll about Turtles Reptile/Amphibians A lmost to Freedom Family and Friends

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100 A mazing Grace Family and Friends A mber Brown Goes Fourth Amber Brown A mber Brown Is Feeling Blue Amber Brown A mber Brown Sees Red Amber Brown A mber Brown Wants Extra Credit Amber Brown A melia Bedelia Family and Friends A melia's Road Family and Friends A merica's Most Wanted Fifth Graders School A nimal Ark: Badger in the Basement Animal Ark A nimal Ark: Cats at the Campground Animal Ark A nimal Ark: Dog at the Doo r Animal Ark A nimal Ark: Horse in the House Animal Ark A nimal Ark: Shetland in the Shed Animal Ark A nimal Atlas Animals A nimal Planet: Into the Rain Forest Animals A nimal Planet: Monkeying around Animals A nimal Planet: Snakes! Face to Face Reptile/Amphibians A nimal Planet: Wild in the U.S.A. Animals A nimorphs: The Encounte r Animorphs A nimorphs: The Invasion Animorphs A nimorphs: The Message Animorphs A nimorphs: The Visito r Animorphs A wful Ogre's Awful Day Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry Baby-sitters Little Sister #1 Karen's Witch Babysitters Club Baby-sitters Little Sister # 2 Karen's Roller Skates Babysitters Club Bad Case of Stripes Family and Friends Children's Choice Batman Guide to Crime (DK) Superheroes Batman, The Copycat Crime Superheroes Batman, Time Thaw Superheroes Because of Winn-Dixie Family and Friends Bernie Williams: Quiet Leader Sports People Boundless Grace Family and Friends Brett Favre: Leader of the Pack Sports People Briana Scurry: Super Saver Sports People

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101 Bunnicula Strikes Again! Bunnicula Burp! The Most Interesting Book You'll Ever Read about Eating Fun Facts Children's Choice Call It Courage Family and Friends Can Snakes Crawl Backward? Reptile/Amphibians Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? All About U.S. Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1 Superheroes Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2 Superheroes Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space Superheroes Catwings Fantasy Catwings Return Fantasy Caving Sports Celebrity Bios: Elijah Wood Famous People Celebrity Bios: Liv Tyler Famous People Celebrity Bios: Shakira Musicians Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Fantasy Charlie Parker Played Be Bop Musicians CharlotteÂ’s Web Family and Friends Chicken Sunday Family and Friends Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type Family and Friends Children's Choice Con mi hermano/With My Brother Spanish Daddy Calls Me Man Family and Friends Dare to Dream Famous People David se mete en lios Spanish Diary of a Monster's Son Family and Friends Diego Famous People Diego Rivera Famous People Dinner at Aunt Connie's House Family and Friends Dinosaur Detectives (DK) Reptiles/Amphibians Doggone Third Grade School Don't Get Caught Driving the School Bus School Duke Ellington Musicians

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102 Egyptian Mummies Egypt El autobus magico en el interior de la tierra Spanish Encyclopedia Brown Sets the Pace Encyclopedia Brown Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake! Encyclopedia Brown Encyclopedia Brown's Book of Strange but True Crimes Encyclopedia Brown Escape North, the Story of Harriet Tubman Famous People Everything Dog Animals Explorers of North America All About U.S. Explorers: Juan Ponce de Leon Famous People Fabulous Facts about the 50 States Fun Facts Find Where the Wind Goes Famous People First Book about Africa Fun Facts First in the Field: Baseball Hero Jackie Robinson Sports People Flossie and the Fox Tales Follow the Drinking Gourd Family and Friends Forever Amber Brown Amber Brown Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule All About U.S. Fourth Grade Is a Jinx School Fourth Grade Rats School Freckle Juice Family and Friends Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom Famous People Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman Famous People Frida Kahlo Famous People From Seed to Plant Science From Tadpole to Frog Reptile/Amphibians George Washington: The Man Who Would Not Be King Famous People Get Ready for Gabi # 1: A Crazy, Mixed-Up Spanglish Day Gabi Get Read for Gabi # 2: Who's that Girl? Gabi Ghostville Elementary: Ghost Class Ghostville Elementary Ghostville Elementary: Ghost Game Ghostville Elementary

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103 Ghostville Elementary: Happy Haunting Ghostville Elementary Ghostville Elementary: New Ghoul in School Ghostville Elementary Giggle, Giggle, Quack Family and Friends Gloria's Way Julian Go Fish Family and Friends Godzilla Ate My Homework School Going to War in Ancient Egypt Egypt Goosebumps: Beware of Purple Peanut Butter Goosebumps Goosebumps: Chicken Chicken Goosebumps Goosebumps: Haunted Mask II Goosebumps Goosebumps: Invasion of the Mind Swapper Goosebumps Goosebumps: It Came from beneath the Bed! Goosebumps Goosebumps: Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes Goosebumps Goosebumps: Secret Agent Grandma Goosebumps Goosebumps: The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock Goosebumps Gorillas Animals Grant Hill: Smooth as Silk Sports People Guests All About U.S. Gymnastics Sports Hangin' with Hilary Duff Musicians Hangin' with Lil' Romeo: Backstage Pass Musicians Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. Famous People Harlem Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry Notable Books for a Global Society Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter Children's Choice Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Prisoner of A zkaban Harry Potter Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts

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104 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Harry Potter Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts; Teacher's Choice; Children's Choice Hey L'il D: It's All in the Name Hey L'il D Hey L'il D: Out of Bounds Hey L'il D Hey L'il D: Stuck in the Middle Hey L'il D Hey L'il D: Take the Court Hey L'il D History Channel: Top Secret Fun Facts History Channel: History's MysteriesBizarre Beings Fun Facts History Channel: The Real Scorpion King Egypt House Mouse, Senate Mouse All About U.S. How to Draw Spider Man Superheroes I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King Famous People I Say a Little Prayer for You Musicians In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry Coretta Scott King In My Momma's Kitchen Family and Friends Incredible Inventions Fun Facts J. C. Watts, Jr.: Character Counts Famous People Jacob Lawrence Famous People James and the Giant Peach Fantasy Jane on Her Own Fantasy Judy Moody Judy Moody Judy Moody Gets Famous Judy Moody Children's Choice Judy Moody Saves the World Judy Moody Children's Choice Julius, the Baby of the World Family and Friends Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket Junie B. Jones Junie B. Jones Is Captain Field Day Junie B. Jones Junie B. Jones y el cumpleanos del malo de Jim Spanish Junie B., First Grader (at Last!) Junie B. Jones Junie B., First Grader: Boss of Lunch Junie B. Jones Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder Junie B. Jones Just the Two of Us Musicians

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105 Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World Family and Friends Coretta Scott King Ken Griffey, Jr.: All-American Slugger Sports People Kevin Garnett: NBA Reader Sports People Kordell Stewart: Steelers Sensation Sports People Las aventuras del Capitan Calzoncillos Spanish Last Summer with Maizon Family and Friends Let's Read aboutÂ…Ruby Bridges Famous People Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing Musicians Lions and Tigers and Leopards The Big Cats Animals Lisa Leslie: Queen of the Court Sports People Little House Chapter Books: Pioneer Sisters Little House Little House Chapter Books: School Days Little House Little House in the Big Woods Little House Little Town on the Prairie Little House Locomotion Family and Friends Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts Look What Came from Mexico All About U.S. Luis Munoz Marin: Father of Modern Puerto Rico Famous People Magic Tree House #3 Mummies in the Morning Magic Tree House Magic Tree House #13 Vacation under the Volcano Magic Tree House Magic Tree House #17 Tonight on the Titanic Magic Tree House Magic Tree House #21 Civil War on Sunday Magic Tree House Magic Tree House #25 Stage Fright on a Summer Night Magic Tree House Magic Tree House #26 Good Morning, Gorillas Magic Tree House Magic Tree House #27 Thanksgiving on Thursday Magic Tree House Magic Tree House #28 High Tide in Hawaii Magic Tree House

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106 Magic Tree House Research Guide: Dinosaurs Magic Tree House Magic Tree House Research Guide: Knights and Castles Magic Tree House Magic Tree House Research Guide: Mummies and Pyramids Magic Tree House Magic Tree House Research Guide: Pirates Magic Tree House Magic Tree House Research Guide: Rain Forests Magic Tree House Magic Tree House Research Guide: Space Magic Tree House Marco Polo: A Journey through China Famous People Martin Luther King Day Famous People Marvin Redpost: A Magic Crystal? Marvin Redpost Marvin Redpost: Alone in His Teacher's House Marvin Redpost Marvin Redpost: Is He a Girl? Marvin Redpost Marvin Redpost: Kidnapped at Birth Marvin Redpost Math for All Seasons Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry Maximum Boy: How I Became a Superhero Superheroes Maximum Boy: Invasion from the Planet of the Cows Superheroes Maximum Boy: Maximum Girl Unmasked Superheroes Maximum Boy: SuperheroÂ…or Super Thief? Superheroes Maximum Boy: The Day Everything Tasted Like Broccoli Superheroes Meet Danitra Brown Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry Meet the Stars of Professional Wrestling Sports People Mister and Me Family and Friends Misty of Chincoteague Family and Friends More Than Anything Else Famous People Notable Books for a Global Society Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters Tales Coretta Scott King Mummies, Tombs, and Treasure: Secrets of Ancient Egypt Egypt

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107 My America: Freedom's Wings, Corey's Underground Railroad Diary All About U.S. My Brother's Keeper, Virginia's Civil War Diary All About U.S. My Mom Is My Show-and-Tell Family and Friends NBA All-Time Super Scorers Sports People NBA Super Star Shaquille O'Neal Sports People NBA Superstars Sports People NFL behind the Scenes Sports NFL Record Setters Sports People NFL Superstars Sports People Night Shift Daddy Family and Friends Night Sky Space Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade School Official Guide to Bionicles Superheroes One Day in the Tropical Rain Forest Science One of Three Family and Friends One Tiny Turtle Reptile/Amphibians Teacher's Choice Pedro Martinez: Pitcher Perfect Sports People Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe Family and Friends Phoebe the Spy All About U.S. Pigs Animals Pink and Say All About U.S. Pippi Longstocking Goes to School School Pirates! Raiders of the High Seas (DK) Fun Facts Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia Sports Pokemon: Night in the Haunted Tower Superheroes Pokemon: The Island of Giant Pokemon Superheroes Pop People: Destiny's Child Musicians Pop People: Justin! Musicians Pop People: Lil' Romeo Musicians Postcards from Pluto Space Pyramids of Egypt Egypt Rain Forest Animals Animals Ramona and Her Father Family and Friends

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108 Rap a Tap Tap: Here's BojanglesThink of That Musicians Return of the Home Run Kid Sports Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot Superheroes Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Mecha-Monkeys from Mars Superheroes Children's Choice Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Mutant Mosquitoes from Mercury Superheroes Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Voodoo Vultures from Venus Superheroes Ripley's Creepy Stuff Fun Facts Ripley's World's Weirdest Critters Fun Facts Robert and the Attack of the Giant Tarantula Family and Friends Rosa Parks: From the back of the Bus to the front of the Movement Famous People Rosa Parks: My Story Famous People Roy Lichtenstein Famous People Rumbling Running Backs: NFL (DK) Sports People Scary Creatures: Alligators and Crocodiles Reptile/Amphibians Scary Creatures: Bears Animals Scary Creatures: Big Cats Animals Scary Creatures: Dinosaurs Reptile/Amphibians Scary Creatures: Rats Animals Scary Creatures: Sharks Animals Scary Creatures: Snakes Alive Reptile/Amphibians Scary Creatures: Spiders, Insects, and Minibeasts Animals Scary Tales 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones Scary Stories Secrets of the Mummies (DK) Egypt Shaquille O'Neal: Big Man Sports People Sharks Animals Sharks Animals Sheila Rae, the Brave Family and Friends Skateboarding Sports Slavery in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia Egypt

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109 So You Want to Be President? All About U.S. Caldecott Medal Soccer Sports Sojourner Truth, Ain't I a Woman? Famous People Song Lee and the "I Hate You" Notes Song Lee Song Lee and the Hamster Hunt Song Lee Song Lee and the Leech Man Song Lee Song Lee in Room 2B Song Lee Sounder Family and Friends Spider Man's Amazing Powers (DK) Superheroes Starring Grace Family and Friends Steal away All About U.S. Stone Fox Family and Friends Story of Muhammad Ali (DK) Sports People Story of Spider-Man (DK) Superheroes Story of the X-Men (DK) Superheroes Super Bowl Heroes (DK) Sports People SupermanÂ’s First Flight Superheroes Supertwins and Tooth Trouble Superheroes Supertwins Meet the Bad Dogs f rom Space Superheroes Supertwins Meet the Dangerous Dino-Robots Superheroes Surfing Sports Swamp Monster in Third Grade School Swimming Sports Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing School Tar Beach Family and Friends Coretta Scott King Tell Me a Story, Mama Family and Friends Terrell Davis: Bronco Buster Sports People The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby Superheroes Children's Choice The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids # 3 Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors Bailey School Kids The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids # 5 Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips Bailey School Kids

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110 The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids # 24 Dragons Don't Cook Pizza Bailey School Kids The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids # 30 Hercules Doesn't Pull Teeth Bailey School Kids The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids # 46 Sea Serpents Don't Juggle Water Balloons Bailey School Kids The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids # 47 Frankenstein Doesn't Start Food Fights Bailey School Kids The All New Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book O'Fun #2 Superheroes The Baby Sitter's Club # 1 Kristy's Great Idea Babysitters Club The Baby Sitter's Club # 2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls Babysitters Club The Baby Sitter's Club # 3 The Truth about Stacey Babysitters Club The Baby Sitter's Club # 4 Mary A nne Saves the Day Babysitters Club The Baby Sitter's Club # 5 Dawn and the Impossible Three Babysitters Club The Boxcar Children #1 The Boxcar Children Boxcar Children The Boxcar Children # 3 The Yellow House Mystery Boxcar Children The Boxcar Children # 5 Mike's Mystery Boxcar Children The Captain Underpants ExtraChunky Book O'Fun Superheroes The Day Martin Luther King, Jr. Was Shot Famous People The Dream Keeper and Other Poems Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry The Encyclopedia of the Winter Olympics Sports The Friendship Family and Friends Coretta Scott King The Gold Cadillac Family and Friends The Grapes of Math Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry Teacher's Choice The Greatest: Muhammad Ali Sports People

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111 The History of Fighter Planes Fun Facts The Incredible Hulk Book of Strength (DK) Superheroes The Legend of Jimmy Spoon Famous People The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Fantasy The Littles Go Exploring The Littles The Littles Go to School The Littles The Littles Make a Friend The Littles The Littles to the Rescue The Littles The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus in the Haunted Museum Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus inside the Human Body Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus Twister Trouble Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus Voyage to the Volcano Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus: Electric Storm Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus: Insect Invaders Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus: Space Explorers Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ Magic School Bus The Magic School Bus: The Wild Whale Watch Magic School Bus The Magician's Nephew Fantasy The Moon Book Space The Mouse and the Motorcycle Family and Friends The New Kid on the Block Jokes, Riddles, Rhyme, Poetry

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112 The Real McCoy: The Life of an A frican-American Inventor Famous People The Road to the NFL Sports The Slime Wars Family and Friends The Stargazers Space The Stars of the WNBA Sports People The Stories Julian Tells Julian The Summer Olympics Sports The Trail of Tears All About U.S. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs Tales The Usborne Book of Racing Cars Sports The Usborne Book of Secret Codes Egypt The Usborne Book of Space Facts Space The Vince Carter Story: NBA Fastbreaks Sports People The Well Family and Friends The World of Baseball (DK) Sports These Hands Family and Friends Third Grade Friends: Gordon and the New Girl School Third Grade Friends: Here's Hilary! School Third Grade Friends: Hilary's Super Secret School Third Grade Friends: Josh Taylor, Mr. Average School Tiger Woods: Driving Force Sports People Tiger Woods: An American Master Sports People Time Warp Trio: Sam Samurai Time Warp Time Warp Trio: See You Later, Gladiator Time Warp Time Warp Trio: The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy Time Warp Titanic: The Long Night Family and Friends Tradin' Paint Sports Tu mama' es una llama Spanish Tutankhamun Egypt Uncle Jed's Barbershop Family and Friends Venus and Serena the Grand Slam Williams Sisters Sports People

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113 Volcanoes (DK) Science We're Going on a Lion Hunt! Musicians Whales Animals What a Wonderful World Musicians What Did I Do to Deserve a Sister Like You? Family and Friends What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? All About U.S. Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? All About U.S. Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam A dams? All About U.S. WNBA Superstars: Leslie, Lobo, and Swoopes Sports People Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings Fantasy X treme Sports: Cutting Edge Sports X treme Sports: Fast Track Sports X treme Summer Sports Sports Yesterday's Heroes: A Journey through the History of AfricanA merican Superstars in the NBA Sports People You Wouldn't Want to Be an Egyptian Mummy! Egypt You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Titanic! One Voyage You'd Rather Not Make Fun Facts

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114 APPENDIX C TRANSCRIPTION CODES Pseudonym microphone participant ? unknown student initials another wirele ss microphoned participant LW Lunetta Williams RTM Research Team Member (unclear) unclear word(s) (predicted word/s) predicted word(s) of a student (( )) researcherÂ’s comments Â… pause longer than 2 seconds space indicator between digits of a bookÂ’s number / / overlapping dialogue

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115 APPENDIX D INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Name ______________ Gender F M School ______________ Grade 2 3 4 5 Teacher ______________ Age 8 9 10 11 12 1. Building rapport: Hi _____. Did you like the book fair? Whic h book are you going to read first? 2. Briefing: I am interested in understanding the kinds of books that you like enough to own. I can look at the books you chose today and guess why you chose your books, but my guesses may be wrong. I cannot really know what ki nds of books you like unless you tell me. I want to understand reasons for picking books from your point of view . I think this will help teachers and librarians put books that you and other st udents would enjoy into classrooms and libraries. I cannot remember everything you say so I may write down a few notes, and I will be tape recording our talk. Could you help me understand why you liked these books so much that you wanted to have them? Tell me about why you chose these books that you will get to keep. 3. Interviewer role: nod my head to show interest. demonstrate interest by some times restating responses express ignorance write down key points about why she/he selected books 4. Specific grand tour questions: Tell me about why you chose thes e books that you get to keep. (If needed, probe) Tell me what happened as you chose your books today. Kind of go back in your mind to when you first started picking books and talk about what happened until you finished picking books. (If needed, probe) As you think back, did a nything else happen today that led you to choose books that you get to keep? Tell me about it.

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116 Is it okay if I write down the titl es of the other books that aren Â’t in front of us inside of the squares, just for us as notes? Tell me about why you c hose these books. (Make sure each book is discussed.) 5. Verification: Tell me if IÂ’m on track. Af ter listening to you talk, this is why you got books today (briefly restate reasons). 6. Gaining depth about reasons, as needed: COVER: Tell me more about why the cover/writi ng on the cover seems interesting/funny/good. EVERDAY CULTURE: Tell me about why you think __________ is so interesting. How do you know about ______________? INTEREST: It seems like you are very interest ed in _________. Why do/does __________ interest you? SCARY/FUNNY/GOOD: Tell me more about ____________ being fun/scary/good. SERIES: Tell me about why you like ___ (series name) books. Have you read other_____ (series name) books? FAMILIAR: Have you ever seen or heard of these books befo re? Tell me about it. Any others? Has anyone read any of these books aloud to you ? Probe to whom and which one(s). 10. Debriefing: It was nice meeting you. Thank you for he lping me learn about the kinds of books you like. Is there anything y ou would like to ask me?````

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117 APPENDIX E BEFORE BOOK SELECTION PROTOCOL Hi! My name is Lunetta. ItÂ’s great to see you. You will have a little microphone put onto your shirt and a pouch put around your wais t with a small box inside of it. This helps tape record your talk during the book fair . Later on I will listen to the tapes so that I can learn about why you chose your books. One way you can help is to just be yourself and talk about what you are thinking as you look at and choose books today. IÂ’m going to show you what I mean by talking ab out what you are thinking as you look at books. If I could choose books today and sa w these three books (hold up the books) in the book fair, I would definitely choose them. Just by the first page, I know that this book called Earrings! will remind me of myself at an early age. I wanted my ears pierced really bad, but I couldnÂ’t until I was older. I can Â’t wait to see if this characterÂ’s parents let her get her ears pierced! This book, Chas ing Redbird, is written by an author who got an award for another book that she wrote (show them the seal on the cover). So, I think it will be really good. Plus, the first page really catches my attention. Another book that I would want today is this book about Hawaii. Hawaii is the pl ace that I want to go the most some day. When my mom travels, sh e usually looks at books made by this publisher, FodorÂ’s, so that she knows where to go and what to do. I think this book can help me know more about Hawaii so that I know what to do when I get there. IÂ’ve already read some about Hawaii, and I can know even more about it after reading this book. That shows you what I mean by talking about what you are thinking as you look at books today. Do you have any questions?

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118 APPENDIX F ANALYSIS CODES FOR STUDENTS’ TALK Selective Code Axial Code Description Examples Topic Acknowledged a topic; provided information about a topic; wanted to learn more about the topic “I love Destiny’s Child.” “Cheetahs are the fastest animals.” “I’ve always wanted to know more about the Titanic.” Series Referred to a book or some books as part of a whole based upon the series name “I want this Junie B. Jones book.” “I’m looking for the Amazing Grace books.” Fictional Characters Acknowledged a fictional character; provided information or predictions about the character “I like the Incredible Hulk.” “It seems like they were going to be picking on him and stuff.” Students’ Descriptions of Selected Books Genre Claimed that a book was funny or scary and/or had the potential to make them or someone else laugh or afraid; named a book a drawing book “The reason I got this book is because it’s so funny.” “I like Goosebumps because they always help me scare my sisters.” “It’s a drawing book.”

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119 Selective Code Axial Code Description Examples Media Saw or heard of a television show, movie, song, or video game associated with the book “He’s my favorite singer.” “She plays on Lizzie McGuire, and that’s my favorite show.” Other People Aware of a book, book’s topic, plot event(s), person in the book, and/or book’s author due to a family member, peer, or adult at school “My brother likes football.” “It’s a good book because my friend has it.” “My teacher read that to me in first grade.” Read Before Read a selected book or at least one other book in its series “I’ve read A Bad Case of Stripes .” “I’ve read a lot of Judy Moody books.” Life Experience Obtained previous experience with or future plans to engage with a book’s topic, plot event(s), or person in the book “I want to play for the Super Bowl.” “I like to shop with my mom in Winn Dixie.” “I saw him play baseball.” Sources of Familiarity with Selected Books Book Features Identified the outer characteristics of a book (cover) and/or inner characteristics (illustrations, stickers, flip-o-rama) “He’s got a cute picture on here.” “It’s got flip o rama!”

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120 APPENDIX G DESCRIPTIONS OF THE 20 MOST SELECTED BOOKS* Glass, E. (2001). Pop people: Destiny’s Child . New York: Scholastic Inc. This well illustrated biography traces the stor y of Destiny’s Child from the original quartet to the superstars that are now l oved by millions the world over. The group has faced controversy but survived it all due to their work ethic, talent, and faith. Walsh, K. (2002). Hangin’ with Lil’ Romeo: Backstage pass . New York: Scholastic Inc. Go behind the scenes into the private worl d of Lil’ Romeo, one of today’s youngest and hottest hip-hop stars. Readers are given th e opportunity to see how he writes, sings, and performs. Numerous photographs allow the reader to have an insider’s view of this star’s work and home life. Morreals, M. (2003). Pop people: Lil’ Romeo . New York: Scholastic Inc. The information in this book gives many details about Lil’ Romeo and the early beginning of his career. Romeo’ s dad suffered an injury that kept him from pursuing his career in basketball. As a result he bought a music store and began producing albums. His most famous artist is his son, Lil’ Ro meo, the youngest artist ever to have a number one single. Scholastic Inc. (2003). Hangin’ with Hilary Duff . New York: Scholastic Inc. Hilary Duff is a teen pop sensation. Th is book is a compilation of Hilary Duff information with over 50 photos. It contains quotes, secrets, and in teresting information about this superstar. Pilkey, D. (2001). The Captain Underpants extr a-crunchy book o’ fun #1 . New York: Scholastic Inc. This book in the Captain Underpants series is designed as an ac tivity book with puzzles, games, comics, drawing tips, flip-o-rama, a nd trivia. Readers are given the opportunity to create their own comic stri ps just like Dav Pilkey. Pilkey, D. (2002). The adventures of Super Diaper Baby . New York: Scholastic Inc. The Captain Underpants series’ characters George and Haro ld have been ordered to do a report on “good citizenship” with the stipul ation that it can’t be about Captain

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121 Underpants. As a result George and Haro ld create a diaper-cla d baby who accidentally falls out of a window and lands in a tub of Super Power Juice thus creating a baby superhero. Rowling, J. K. (2002). Harry Potter and the goblet of fire . New York: Scholastic Inc. Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. He wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the Intern ational Quidditch Cup. Harry wants to find out about the mysterious event that is supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an ev ent involving two other riva l schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. Meadearis, A. (2002). What did I do to dese rve a sister like you ? New York: Scholastic Inc. Sharie dislikes two things, piano lessons and her older sister. She' d rather eat liver and onions than go to piano lessons, and she dreads the thought of playing in a recital. Her sister Sandra is bossy but beautiful, while Sh arie wears thick glasse s, has unruly hair and a terrible rash. In spite of it all she learns to deal with her jealous y, control her anger, and accept herself. Pilkey, D. (2002). The all new Captain Underpants extra-crunchy book oÂ’ fun #2. New York: Scholastic Inc. PilkeyÂ’s book oÂ’ fun 2 is filled with cro ssword puzzles, word finds, mazes and more. Readers learn how to draw their favorite ch aracters, tell cheesy jokes, and even make their own silly Captain Underpants story. Also included is a new comic featuring Captain Underpants, Super Diaper Baby, and Diaper Dog. Preller, J. (2000). Meet the stars of professional wrestling . New York: Scholastic Inc. The greatest wrestlers on the pl anet are featured in this book. Fans of all ages will be delighted with the action-packed photos, prof iles, and fun facts presented in this book on their favorite wrestling star. Lanier, B., Goodyear, H., & Preller, J. (2003). Hey LÂ’il D: ItÂ’s all in the name . New York: Scholastic Inc. This book deals with many problems fourth graders go through, from fitting in with friends to apologizing to others . Bob Lanier writes a great story about three friends who love to play basketball. In this book their new friend, Gan, gets stuck with a nickname he does not like, but one that turns out to be the best nickname ever.

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122 Stine, R. (2004). Goosebumps: The haunted mask II. New York: Scholastic Inc. Steve wants to scare members of the soccer t eam he is coaching. He asks Carly Beth where she got the mask she scared everyone with last year but she won’t tell. The excitement begins when Steve discovers a closed shop, crawls through a window, and discovers the perfect mask. He is terrified to discover that the mask is not a mask. Clarke, P., Riley, T., & Bergen, M. (2002). Scary creatures: Big cats . New York: Scholastic Inc. This book offers photographs of the most feared cats in the wild. A variety of species are described telling where they live, how they l ook, how they behave, and what they eat. Jones, M. (2003). Ghostville elementary: New ghoul in school . New York: Scholastic Inc. In the Sleepy Hollow classroom, which exis ts in a basement, strange things are happening. The new kid in class is see-thr ough, floats in the air, and never seems to leave the room. The students wonder if he could possibly be a ghost and even suggest this to their teacher. It seems everyone is af raid to find out the truth about this strange boy. Pilkey, D. (2003). Captain Underpants and the big, bad battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: Revenge of the ridiculous robo-boogers . New York: Scholastic Inc. Harold and George who are the Captain’s friends borrow a machine called combine-otron 2000, invented by Melvin the nerd, to bl ow up the Big Bad Booger. Something goes wrong and the machine switches their princi pal Mr. Krupp’s brain with the brain of Melvin. Eventually Harold and George are ab le to unscramble the brains and destroy the Big Bad Booger. Park, B. (2003). Junie B., first grader: Boss of lunch . New York: Scholastic Inc. After arguing with one of her friends over wh ich is best a “bought or brought lunch,” Junie B. leaves her table and runs in the ki tchen to Mrs. Gutzman, thus breaking a school rule. A deal is made with Junie B. that if she can follow the rules for the remainder of the day, she can be a special cafeteria helper comp lete with "'quipment" (apron, hairnet, and mitts). This begins Junie B.'s drea m-come-true adventure as boss of lunch.

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123 Scholastic Inc. (2003). How to draw Spider Man . New York: Scholastic Inc. This beautifully illustrated guide is an introductory book on the basic drawing techniques needed to depict several cartoon character s from the Spider Man universe. The information and instructions contained in this book are logically or ganized and include a list of tools and materials needed to start drawing Lanier, B., Goodyear, H., & Grover, D. (2003). Hey L’il D: Take the court. New York: Scholastic Inc. L'il D loves watching his dad play basketball every Sunday at the park. He knows that someday he'll be a star shooter , too, and he practices all th e time. But when his sworn enemy takes over the school court at recess, L'il Dobber and his friends have no choice but to reclaim the court. Pilkey, D. (1999). Captain Underpants and the inva sion of the incredibly naughty cafeteria ladies from outer space . New York: Scholastic Inc. Three aliens try to take over the world while posing as lunch ladies in a small, midwestern elementary school. These new lunc h ladies begin servi ng strange things to the kids, and the new food begins to make the kids look and act weird. George and Harold notice that something odd is going on an d decide to investigate. When they suspect that the lunch ladies are aliens and tell their princi pal, he doesn't believe them. Pilkey, D. (2003). Captain Underpants and the big, bad, battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The night of the nasty nostril nuggets . New York: Scholastic Inc. Instead of transforming himself into a Bi onic Superboy, Melvin Sneedly, the school’s brain and tattletale, transfor ms into a Bionic Booger Boy. Captain Underpants, whose identity is revealed in this book, attempts to save everyone from yet another evil being. Carus, M. (2002). 13 scary ghost stories. New York: Scholastic Inc. Thirteen “spine-tingling tales” about ghos ts, werewolves, skeletons, and other creepy characters are included in this book. No pl ace is safe-a ghost could appear in a crowded swimming pool, a sunny beach, or your own b ackyard. The spirits come from all over the world creating the sense that “no ghost will be left behind.” Stein, B. (1986). 101 silly monster jokes. New York: Scholastic Inc. 101 silly monster jokes is a collection of jokes th at will entertain the reader. No one ever dreamed monsters could have so much fun. * provided information for these summaries.

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124 LIST OF REFERENCES Allington, R. (2001). What really matters for struggli ng readers: Designing research based programs. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc. Allington, R., & McGill-Franzen, A. (2001, March). Minimizing summer reading loss among poor children . Federally funded proposal by U. S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Washington, DC. Alton-Lee, A., & Nuthall, G. (1993). Refram ing classroom research: A lesson from the private world of children. Harvard Educational Review , 63 (1), 50-84. Alvermann, D., & Xu, S. (2003). ChildrenÂ’s everyday literacies : Intersections of popular culture and language arts instruction. Language Arts , 81 (2), 145-154. Anderson, G., Higgins, D., and Wurster, S. ( 1985). Differences in the free-reading books selected by high, average and low achievers. Reading Teacher , 39 (3), 326-330. Anderson, R., Wilson, P., & Fielding, L. ( 1988). Growth in reading and how children spend their time outside of school. Reading Research Quarterly , 23 , 285-303. Banks, J., & Banks, C. (2001). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Baker, L., & Wigfield, A. (1999). Dimensi ons of childrenÂ’s motivation for reading and their relations to reading activ ity and reading achievement. Reading Research Quarterly , 34 , 452-477. Block, C., & Israel, S. (2004). The ABCÂ’s of performing highly effective think-alouds. Reading Teacher , 58 (2), 154-167. Bogdan, R. (1998). Qualitative research for education: An introduction theory and methods . Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Bruner, J. (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds . Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Campbell, K., Griswold, D., & Smith, F. (1988) . Effects of trade back covers (hardback or paperback) on individualized read ing choices by elementary-age children. Reading Improvement , 25 (3), 166-178.

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125 Castaneda, M. (1995). A look at Hispanic children’s read ing choices and interests: A descriptive study . Unpublished doctoral dissertati on, Texas Woman’s University, Denton. Charmaz, K. (2002). Qualitative intervie wing and grounded theory analysis. In J. F. Gubrium & J. A. Hostein (Eds.), Handbook of interview research (pp. 675-694). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1978). Intrinsic re wards and emergent motivation. In M. R. Lepper & D. Greene (Eds.), The hidden costs of reward: New perspectives on the psychology of human motivation (pp. 205-216). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Corman, J. (2004). About Scholastic. Sc holastic. Retrieved July 31, 2004, from . Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and se lf-determination in human behavior. NY: Plenum Press. Donahue, P., Finnegan, R., Lutkus, A., Allen, N ., & Campbell, J. (2001). The nation’s report card: Fourth-grade 2000. Nati onal Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved January 12, 2002, from . Dooley, D. (2001). Social research methods (4th ed.) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Doiron, R. (2003). Boy books, girl books. Teacher Librarian , 30 (3), 14-18. Dyson, A. (1994). The Ninjas, the X-Men, a nd the ladies: Playing with power and identity in an urban primary school. Teachers College Record , 96 (2), 219-239. Dyson, A. (1998). Folk processes and media crea tures: Reflections on popular culture for literacy educators. Reading Teacher , 51 (5), 392-402. Dyson, A. (2003). Illiteracies a nd the “all” children: Rethinki ng literacy development for contemporary childhoods. Language Arts , 81 (2), 100-109. Eder, D., & Fingerson, L. (2002). Intervie wing children and adolescents. In J. F. Gubrium & J. A. Hostein (Eds.), Handbook of interview research (pp. 181-201). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Ferdman, B. (1990). Literacy and cultural identity. Harvard Educational Review , 60 (2), 181-204.

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126 Fleener, C., Morrison, S., Linek, W., & Rasi nski, T. (1997). Recreational reading choices: How do children select books? In W. M. Linek & E. G. Sturtevant (Eds.), Exploring literacy (pp. 75-84). Plattevill e, WI: College Reading Association. Florida Department of Education. (2004). Titl e1/Migrant Programs. Office of Title 1 Programs and Academic Intervention Services. Retrieved September 15, 2004, from . Gambrell, L., Palmer, B., Codling, R., & M azzoni, S. (1996). Assessing motivation to read. Reading Teacher , 49 , 518-533. Gee, J. (2001). Reading as situated language: A sociocognitive perspective. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy , 44 (8), 714-725. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research . Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co. Glesne, C. (1999). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction (2nd ed.). New York: Longman. Gottfried, A. (1990). Academic intrin sic motivation in young elementary school children. Journal of Educational Psychology , 82 , 525-538. Guice, S. (1992). Readers, texts, and contents in a sixth-grade community of readers . Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Reading Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Guthrie, J. T., & Anderson, E. (1999). Engage ment in reading: Processes of motivated, strategic, knowledgeable, soci al readers. In J. T. Guthrie & D. E. Alvermann (Eds.), Engaged reading: Processes, pr actices, and poli cy implications (pp. 1745). New York: Teachers College Press. Gutierrez, K., & Rogoff, B. (2003). Cultural wa ys of learning: Individual traits or repertories of practice. Educational Researcher , 32 (5), 19-25. Hade, D., & Edmondson, J. (2003). ChildrenÂ’ s book publishing in neoliberal times. Lanuguage Arts , 81 (2), 135-143. Harkrader, M. A., & Moore, R. (1997). L iterature preferences of fourth graders. Reading Research and Instruction, 36 (4), 325-339. Harris, A., & Sipay, E. (1990). How to increase reading ability (8th ed.). New York: Longman.

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127 Helper, S., & Hickman, J. (1982). “The book wa s okay. I love you” – Social aspects of response to literature. Theory Into Practice , 21 (4), 278-283. Henry, A. (1992). Book-selection strategies of fourth grade students . Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville. Hiebert, E., Mervar, K., & Person, D. (1990) Research directions: Children’s selection of trade books in libra ries and classrooms. Language Arts , 67 , 758-763. King, E. (1967). Critical appraisal of research on ch ildren’s reading interests, preferences, and habits. Canadian Education and Research Digest , 7 , 312-327. Kragler, S. (2000). Choosing books for reading: An analysis of three types of readers. Journal of Research in Childhood Education , 14 (2), 133-141. Krashen, S. (1993). The power of reading: In sights from the research. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. Kuzel, A. (1999). Sampling in qualitative inquiry . In B. Crabtree & W. Miller (Eds.). Doing qualitative research (pp. 33-45). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Lamme, L. (1976). Are reading ha bits and abilit ies related? Reading Teacher , 30 , 2127. Lareau, A. (2000). Home advantage: Social class and parental intervention in elementary education . Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Laumbach, B. (1994). Reading intere sts of rural bilingual children. Rural Educator , 16 (3), 12-14. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry . Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Lysaker, J. (1997). Learning to read from self-selected te xts: The book choices of six first graders. In C. K. Kinzer, K. A. Hinchman, & D. J. Leu (Eds.), Inquiries in literacy: Theory and practice (pp. 273-282). Chicago, IL: National Reading Conference. Mahar, D. (2003). Bringing the outside in: One teacher’s ride on the anime highway. Language Arts , 81 (2), 110-117.

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128 Martinez, M., Roser, N., Worthy, J., Strecker, S., & Gough, P. (1997). Classroom libraries and children’s book selections : Redefining “access” in self-selected reading. In C. K. Kinzer, K. A. Hinchman, & D. J. Leu (Eds.), Inquiries in literary theory and practice (pp. 265-272). Chicago, IL: National Reading Conference. McCarthey, S. (2001). Identity constructi on in elementary readers and writers. Reading Research Quarterly , 36 (2), 122-173. McGinley, W., & Kamberelis, G. (1996). Maniac Magee and Ragtime Tumpie : Children negotiating self and wo rld through reading and writing. Research in the Teaching of English , 30 (1), 75-113. Meekins, A., & Wolinski, J. (2003). Formula fiction: Seldom recommended – widely read. Dragon Lode , 21 (2), 16-21. Merriam, S. (1995). What can you tell from an n of 1? Issues of validity and reliability in qualitative research. PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning , 4 , 51-60. Merriam, S. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc. Miles, M., & Huberman, A. (1984). Qualitative data analysis a sourcebook of new methods . Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Mohr, K. (2003). Children’s choices: A comparison of book preferences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic first-graders. Reading Psychology , 24 (2), 163-176. National Center for Education Statistics (2003). Average read ing scale scores, by student eligibility for free/reduced-price scho ol lunch, grades 4 and 8: 1998-2003. NCES document. Retrieved January 24, 2004, from ard/reading/results2003/lunch.asp . Purves, A. C., & Beach, R. (1972). Literature and the reader: Research in response to literature, reading interests, and the teaching of literature . Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. O’Flahavan, J., Gambrell, L. Guthrie, J., Stahl, S., & Alvermann, D. (1992). Poll results guide activities of research center. Reading Today , 10 (1), 12. Orellana, M., & Bowman, P. (2003). Cultura l diversity research and learning and development: Conceptual, methodological , and strategic connections. Educational Researcher , 32 (5), 26-32. Reutzel, R., & Gali, K. (1998). The art of children's book selection: A labyrinth unexplored. Reading Psychology: An In ternational Quarterly , 19 , 3-50.

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129 Robinson, C., Larsen, J., Haupt, J., & Mohl man, J. (1997). Picture book selection behaviors of emergent readers: In fluence of genre, familiarity, and book attributes. Reading Research and Improvement , 36 (4), 287-304. Simpson, A. (1996). Fictions a nd facts: An investigation of the reading practices of girls and boys. English Education , 28 (4), 268-279. Sims, R. (1983). What has happened to th e “all-white” world of children’s books? Phi Delta Kappan , 64 , 650-653. Spears-Bunton, L. A. (1990). Welcome to my house: African American and European American students’ responses to Virginia Hamilton’s House of Dies Drear. Journal of Negro Education , 59(4), 566-576. Spradley, J. (1979). The ethnographic interview . Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group/Thomson Learning. Strauss, A., & Corbin, C. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Sweet, A., Ng, M., & Guthrie, J. (1998). Teacher perceptions and student reading motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology , 90 (2), 210-223. Taxel, J. (2002). Children’s li terature at the turn of the century: Toward a political economy of the publishing industry. Research in the Teaching of English , 27 (2), 145-197. Tunnell, M., & Jacobs, J. (2000). Children’s literature briefly . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Turner, J. (1995). The influence of classr oom contexts on young children’s motivation for literacy. Reading Research Quarterly , 30 (3), 410-441. Turner, J., & Paris, S. (1995). How literacy tasks influence children’s motivation for literacy. Reading Teacher , 48 (8), 662-673. U.S. Department of Educa tion. (2004). Reading first. Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved July 26, 2004, from . Wiberg, J., & Trost, M. (1970). A comparison between the content of first grade primers and the free choice library selections made by first grade students. Elementary English , 48 , 792-798. Weintraub, S. (1969). Child ren’s reading interests. Reading Teacher , 22 , 655-659.

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130 Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., & Rodriguez, D. (1998). The development of children's motivation in school contexts. In P. D. Pearson & A. Iran-Nejad (Eds.), Review of research in education (pp. 73-118). Washington DC: American Educational Research Association. Wigfield, A., & Guthrie, J. (1997). Relations of childrenÂ’s motivation for reading to the amount and breadth of their reading. Journal of Educational Psychology , 89 , 420-432. Williams, L. (2004). Helping studentsÂ’ value the sole ac t of reading. Dragon Lode , 22 (2), 29-33. Worthy, J., Moorman, M., & Turner, M. (1999). Wh at Johnny likes to read is hard to find in schools. Reading Research Quarterly, 34 (1), 12-27. Wray, D., & Lewis, M. (1993). The reading experiences and interests of junior school children. ChildrenÂ’s Literature in Education , 24 , 251-263. Zimet, S., & Camp. B. (1974). Favorite books of first graders from city and suburb. Elementary Science Journal , 75 (3), 191-196.

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131 CHILDRENÂ’S BOOK REFERENCES Banks, C. (2003). History channel: Real Scorpion King . New York: Scholastic Inc. Buckley, J. (2001). SpidermanÂ’s amazing powers . New York: DK Publishers. Buckley, J., & Buckley, J. (2003). The Incredible Hulk book of strength. New York: DK Publishers. Calmenson, S. (1989). 101 silly summertime jokes. New York: Scholastic Inc. Carus, M. (2002). 13 scary ghost stories. New York: Scholastic Inc. Clarke, P., & Bergin, M. (2002). Scary creatures: Sharks . New York: Scholastic Inc. Clarke, P., Riley, T., & Bergen, M. (2003). Scary creatures: Big cats . New York: Scholastic Inc. Cooper, J., Bergin, M., & Scarce, C. (2002). Scary creatures: Dinosaurs . New York: Scholastic Inc. Dadey, D., & Lucas M. (2003). Swamp monster in third grade . New York: Scholastic Inc. Davidson, M. (1994). I have a dream: The story of Martin Luther King . New York: Scholastic Inc. Friedmen, M. (2000). SupermanÂ’s first flight . New York: Scholastic Inc. Garrett, L. (2002). The story of Muhammed Ali . New York: DK Publishers. Gifford, O. (1994). Usborne book of racing cars . New York: Scholastic Inc. Glass, E. (2001). Pop people: DestinyÂ’s Child . New York: Scholastic Inc. Goodyear, H., Lanier, B., & Grover, D. (2003). Hey LiÂ’l D: Stuck in the middle . New York: Scholastic Inc. Grayson, D., Byrne, J., & Kane, B. (2003). Batman the copycat crime . New York: Scholastic Inc.

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132 Grimes, N. (1994). Meet Danitra Brown . New York: Scholastic Inc. Gutman, B. (2001) Venus and Serena the grand slam Williams sisters . New York: Scholastic Inc. Hammerslough, J. (2003a). Animal planet: Snakes face to face . New York: Scholastic Inc. Hammerslough, J. (2003b). Animal planet: Wild in the USA . New York: Scholastic Inc. Jamison, M. (2001). Find where the wind goes . New York: Scholastic Inc. Jones, M. (2003). Ghostville elementary: Ghost class . New York: Scholastic. Jones, M., & Dadey, D. (2003). Ghostville elementary: New ghoul in school. New York: Scholastic Inc. Lanier, B., Goodyear, H., & Grover, D. (2003). Hey LilÂ’D: Take the court . New York: Scholastic Inc. Lanier, B., Goodyear, H., & Preller, J. (2003). Hey LÂ’il D: ItÂ’s all in the name. New York: Scholastic Inc. Medearis, A. (2002). What did I do to dese rve a sister like you? New York: Scholastic Inc. Morreale, M. (2003). Pop people: LilÂ’ Romeo . New York: Scholastic Inc. Park, B. (2003). Junie B., first grader: Boss of lunch . New York: Scholastic Inc. Pilkey, D. (1999). Captain Underpants and the inva sion of the incredible naughty cafeteria ladies from outer space. New York: Scholastic Inc. Pilkey, D. (2001). The Captain Underpants extr a-crunchy book oÂ’ fun #1 . New York: Scholastic Inc. Pilkey, D. (2002a). The adventures of Super Diaper Baby . New York: Scholastic Inc. Pilkey, D. (2002b). The all new Captain Underpants extra-crunchy book oÂ’ fun #2 . New York: Scholastic Inc. Pilkey, D. (2003a). Captain Underpants and the big, bad battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The night of the nasty nostril nuggets . New York: Scholastic Inc.

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133 Pilkey, D. (2003b). Captain Underpants and the big, bad battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: Revenge of the ridiculous robo-boogers. New York: Scholastic Inc. Preller, J. (2000). Meet the stars of professional wrestling. New York: Scholastic Inc. Rivera, U. (2003). Celebrity bios: Shakira . New York: Scholastic Inc. Rowling, J. K. (2002). Harry Potter and the goblet of fire . New York: Scholastic Inc. St. George, J. (2001). So you want to be president . New York: Scholastic Inc. Scholastic Inc. (2003a). HanginÂ’ with Hilary Duff. New York: Scholastic Inc. Scholastic Inc. (2003b). How to draw Spider Man. New York: Scholastic Inc. Schwartz, A. (1991). Scary tales 3: More ta les to chill your bones . New York: Scholastic Inc. Shannon, D. (1998). A bad case of stripes . New York: Scholastic Inc. Stewart, M. (1998). Bernie Williams: Quiet leader . New York: Scholastic Inc. Stine, B. (1986). 101 silly monster jokes. New York: Scholastic Inc. Stine, R. (2004). Goosebumps: The haunted mask II. New York: Scholastic Inc. Teitelbaum, M. (2003). Batman guide to crime and detection . New York: DK Publishers. Viorst, J. (1990). Earrings! New York: Simon & Schuster. Walsh, K. (2002). HanginÂ’ with LilÂ’ Romeo: Backstage pass . New York: Scholastic Inc. White, E. (1952). CharlotteÂ’s web . New York: Scholastic Inc.

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134 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lunetta Marie Williams was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1971 and moved to Florida in 1975. After rece iving her early education from Idylwild Elementary and Lincoln Middle School in Gaines ville, Florida, Lune tta transferred to the University of Florida laboratory school, P. K. Yonge, a nd obtained her high school diploma. In 1989, Lunetta moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida. Lunetta obtained her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in elementary curriculum. Lunetta taught elementary students for 3 y ears in Tampa, Florida, and 4 years in Gainesville, Florida, prior to entering the doctoral program in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida, sp ecializing in reading. During her doctoral program, Lunetta served as a graduate teaching assistant for emergent literacy, remediation of reading disabili ties, and field placement in reading. In addition, Lunetta worked as a graduate research assistant fo r Dr. Richard Allington and Dr. Anne McGillFranzen’s U. S. Department of Educa tion Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) grant, “Minimizing Summ er Reading Loss Among Poor Children.”