Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences

Department

Human Development, Family Sciences and Rural Sociology

Advisor/Mentor

Herold, Laura

Committee Member/Reader

Timby, Donia

Committee Member/Second Reader

Ma, Weiyi

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to fill a research gap on the reading interest of early adolescent girls and to reveal whether the books these students are reading feature strong female leads. The literature review suggests that the transition to middle school is often a challenging and critical time for children, particularly for females. It also reveals the importance of book reading and relatable and strong girl characters to guide female students. These students can learn from the actions of the protagonist through character education. Based on this information, an online pilot survey was distributed to 4th and 5th-grade students from Arkansas and Texas. Analysis of the responses revealed while authors are featuring more multifaceted female characters that has historically been the case, there are still numerous inequities among male and female characters. Additionally, early adolescent female readers may potentially be consuming themes that are not to be made center their own lives. The results indicate the need for further expansion on the topic of research and for a system to be in place to ensure early adolescent females have access to books highlighting strong women.

Keywords

Early Adolescent, Female, Representation in Literature, Strong Female Characters, Character Education, Self-Confidence, Reading Interest

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