Factors Which Influence Kindergarten Teachers Selection of Trade Books for Use in Readaloud Sessions in Their Classrooms
Purposes and Procedures:
According to many scholars (Huck et al., 1983; Chambers, 1983; Trelease, 1985; Kimmel and Segel, 1988), reading aloud is a powerful way to reach children academically and emotionally. Because reading aloud has the potential to affect children and because reading aloud occurs most often at the elementary level, this study was designed to investigate the factors that influence teachers' selection of trade books for use in readaloud sessions in their kindergarten classrooms.
Participants included six kindergarten teachers with varying levels of experience, and data were collected in the naturalistic setting through means of interview, focused book review, and think-aloud procedures designed to approach the participants' thinking from a variety of angles.
Fieldtesting was conducted to help strengthen the inquiry design and provide an opportunity for realistic application of the method chosen for analysis (Rubin and Rubin, The Art of Hearing Data, 1995). Analysis included color-coding for identification of concepts and themes both in individual interviews and across cases.
Findings: All six participants readily acknowledged the importance of reading aloud in the classroom, and, though time and length of readaloud sessions in their classrooms vary, each of these teachers includes it in her daily program. Further, these teachers indicated that there are a variety of factors which influence their choices, factors falling within several categories: purpose for reading, students' needs and desires, characteristics of books themselves, books' potential to enhance literacy growth, and issues of controversy. Further, these participants indicated their use of a variety of pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading strategies which they believe helps enhance the readaloud session for their students.
Conclusion: The results of this study promote the idea that kindergarten teachers recognize the importance of reading aloud and that they consider carefully their trade book selection. Perhaps also the results could provide a springboard into further, more issue-focused or specific research regarding the factors found to influence teacher choice.