Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Elsass, Angela

Committee Member/Reader

Imbeau, Marcia

Committee Member/Second Reader

Kerr, Grace


This study focuses on empowering preadolescent girls to develop confidence and move from a fixed to growth mindset, take responsibility for their actions, turn failures into learning opportunities, and cultivate a love for self. GIRLS: Leaders on the Rise is a literacy-based mentoring program for preadolescent girls designed to improve confidence, positive self-concept, and develop a leadership skillset through five targeted aspects of leadership: growth mindset, integrity, resilience, love and loyalty, and strengths. Adolescence is a time when students are discovering who they are and shaping their identities. Girls decline in their self-confidence during adolescence due to fear of failure, self-image, pressures of perfectionism, and comparison to peers. These factors create barriers for becoming strong girl leaders. In response to the challenges preadolescent girls face, GIRLS: Leaders on the Rise, a literacy-based mentoring program, was designed to provide opportunities for preadolescent girls to develop confidence, improve self-concept, and become aware of personal leadership skills. The program curriculum is literacy-based, a powerful tool for exploring the identities of female characters and their response to life challenges within the chosen literature. GIRLS: Leaders on the Rise is a five-week literacy-based, mentoring program for preadolescent girls in a middle school setting. and was implemented during the 2018 fall and 2019 spring semesters. A total of 68 participants met in an after-school program one day per week for three hours. This research study addresses the following question: “What are the effects of a literacy-based, mentoring program on empowering preadolescent girls in their development of confidence, positive self-concept, and leadership skillset?” The format for each week was similar in structure, including whole group instruction, collaborative small group activities, and independent application and practice of the targeted aspect of leadership. Data were collected through pre-assessments and post-assessments, weekly formative assessments, participant self-reflections, and anecdotal notes. Data were analyzed using a paired-sample t-test with the alpha level set at 0.01. The results show statistical significance for participants in this research study. The results of this study reflect a positive effect on the development of confidence, self-concept and leadership skillset of preadolescent girls through participation in GIRLS: Leaders on the Rise, a five-week literacy-based, mentoring program. Data show that these participants developed an understanding of personal leadership skills and demonstrated application of these aspects within the parameters of the program.


Preadolescent, Girls, Leadership, Confidence, Self-Concept, Service learning