High-achieving sixth-graders' response to narrative

Agnes Inglesby McErlean, Fordham University


The purpose of the study was to determine the ability of sixth-grade high achievers to read for the inner sense of literature they had read individually in a school setting. Further, it was meant to generate hypotheses about how this small group of participants transacted with literature. Materials consisted of a text, Mary Norton's The Borrowers, an interview schedule, probe procedures for a group discussion, and both taped and written verbal reports. Analysis of data became a search for patterns (categories). The patterns and categories led to the following findings and conclusions, stated as hypotheses: (1) Responses to narrative concern inner sense, evaluation (as defined in this study), and comprehension problems in that order. (2) Within the category of inner sense, responses concern character motivation, affective evaluation, and subtle messages in that order. (3) Each reader's transaction is somewhat unique and idiosyncratic within each category. (4) Group discussion enhances interpretation. (5) Group discussion makes affective demands. (6) Genre influences response. (7) Girls are more persistent than boys with low/middle interest materials, and more willing to express engagement. (8) Author's style influences response. (9) Author awareness plays a relatively minor role in response. (10) Recommendation/Critical Stance, Efferent Reading, Strategic Responses, Conversation Maintenance (for the group discussion), and unique responses receive minor focus.^ Further research into the nature of students' transactions with literature is recommended. ^

Subject Area

Language arts|Elementary education|Reading instruction|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

McErlean, Agnes Inglesby, "High-achieving sixth-graders' response to narrative" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9226423.