Title

READING PREFERENCES OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN OF VARYING SOCIO-ECONOMIC LEVELS AS INDICATED BY SCHOOL LIBRARY CIRCULATION RECORDS

Date of Completion

January 1982

Keywords

Education, Reading

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the reading preferences of elementary school children and to assess the relationship between socio-economic level and preference. It was an extension of a study conducted by Therese Bissen Bard.^ Elementary school library circulation records from two schools, one with children of high socio-economic status and one with children of low socio-economic status, were examined. The data from each school were analyzed separately to determine the categories of literature present in the sample. The data were then organized, classified, and summarized into frequency distributions using these categories. The circulation figures were adjusted to compensate for the difference in the number of students in each school. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to test for differences based on the adjusted circulation figures. For each school a list of titles that circulated frequently enough to be one or more standard deviations above the mean circulation was compiled. These results were analyzed to determine if any differences existed between type of literature as well as specific titles preferred by children of each socio-economic group.^ Findings revealed that the students of low socio-economic status preferred imaginative-easy literature while the students of high socio-economic status preferred imaginative-non-fiction books. Significant differences were found between the two groups in their preferences for content books, imaginative literature, realistic fiction, and easy books on the basis of the number of titles in each class and category. On the basis of the circulation figures, differences were significant between the two groups in preference for content books, imaginative literature, realistic fiction, easy books, mysteries and non-fiction. No preference differences were found for biographies and Hawaiiana.^ The children of low socio-economic status showed a preference for books that had anthropomorphic animal characters and simple vocabulary, while the children of high socio-economic status showed a preference for books of riddles. Distinguished titles and biographies did not circulate widely in either school. The study yielded no definitive data concerning reading preferences according to author. ^