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Dissertation Information for Donna M. Shannon

- Donna M. Shannon

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA) (1993)

- Susan Steinfirst

- Paul Solomon
- Evelyn Hope Daniel
- Nancy Brown
- George Wentworth Noblit

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Children's responses to humor in fiction

Abstract: Reports in the education literature point out that children do not spend much time reading at school or during their free time. Research indicates that the amount of time children spend reading may be increased when they are provided with material they find interesting. Reading interest and preference studies indicate that humorous books rank high among children's favorites.

The purposes of this study were to (1) discover what children find humorous in books they read or are read to them, (2) to discover how children respond to humorous books, and (3) to understand the implications these responses have for their comprehension and appreciation of humor and for their reading interests and preferences.

The investigation employed a qualitative methodology to study the responses of children in one grade 4/5 classroom over a five and one-half month period. Data were collected by means of participant observation, interviews, discussion sessions, and analysis of documents.

Categories for what children found humorous and for how they responded were constructed based on their responses. Participants appreciated humor related to: (1) superiority or sense of accomplishment, (2) physical events and appearances, (3) the scatological and gross, and (4) language and wordplay. Children most often responded to books by: (1) retelling or summarizing, (2) reading aloud from the text, or (3) offering subjective evaluations. Less frequently, children (1) made personal connections or connections to other books, (2) offered statements of analysis, or (3) offered interpretations.

Children's responses revealed that they lacked the background knowledge to understand and appreciate potentially humorous material in some books they read. They identified more humor in books that were easier to read. With the exception of name-calling and funny-sounding words, children were more articulate in describing humor based in characters' actions than humor of language and wordplay. Their sensitivity to more subtle forms of humor was heightened when passages from books were read aloud.

Their responses revealed that reading interest and choice of reading material are based on an interrelated set of factors. The importance of reading as a social process was illuminated by children's enjoyment and sharing of humorous literature.

MPACT Scores for Donna M. Shannon

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:20:21

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Students under Donna M. Shannon

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