Insight & inspiration, literature that transforms: using literature that creates opportunities for greater understanding of self, others, and society
This thesis explores the impact of quality literature on students' understanding about themselves, about others, and about society. It asks the questions: 1. Does reading literature with complex characters, those with internal conflicts, or issues that need to be worked out in their lives, help children define their sense of self? 2. Can the books we have our students read make a difference in the attitudes they hold about other people? 3. Does introducing students to rich themes through literature help them understand society and the contributions each child can make? The research took place over the course of a reading unit in two fourth grade classrooms in a suburban school district in the Midwest. It is a qualitative study involving interviews of two teachers and six students, classroom observations, and a review of students' journals and other written work.