Half -day kindergarten literature discussion groups: A worthwhile endeavor

Janice Lee Butler McBride, University of Pennsylvania


I conducted a descriptive study of kindergarten students in teacher- and student-led literature discussion groups. The discussion groups, which augmented the Literacy Place 2000 program by Scholastic, were held in both of my one-half day kindergarten classes. I conducted the research to give practitioners a closer look at literature discussion groups in kindergarten classes. I provide specific information about teacher preparation for implementing discussion groups in one-half day kindergarten classes, the utterances of kindergarteners as they interact within the groups, and how children use discussion to construct meaning from the literature. I collected data for 17 weeks in 2001. I generated transcripts from audiotaped discussions of kindergarteners in teacher- and student-led discussion groups. I coded the transcripts and categorized the content into three topics: reader interactions with the text, student construction of meaning from literature, and management issues related to implementing the program. I also used a reflective journal for keeping my impressions of the implementation process and literature discussions. Based on an in-depth analysis of the data, I made five assertions about literature discussion groups held in one-half day kindergarten classes. Before implementing literature discussion groups at any level, the teacher needs to reflect on his or her teaching philosophy. If the teacher believes that students should be encouraged to compare the literature with their own experiences, the teacher must decide if the benefits outweigh the work needed to implement the program. As stated in assertion number 2, the teacher's knowledge, desires, drive, and experiences must be used to face the struggles and successes of implementing discussion groups in class. Volunteers, parents, administrators, and the classes contribute to the outcome of discussion groups. Assertions 3, 4, and 5 relate to student responses in literature discussion groups. Kindergarteners cite text and illustrations, display personal reactions to the text, and express a desire to read. I address disputes in assertion 4 by identifying problems with turn taking, off-task activity, and misbehavior. In the fifth assertion, I state that kindergarten students in discussion groups make individual attempts to connect with the text. Students also try to construct meaning through collaboration with others.

Subject Area

Preschool education|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

McBride, Janice Lee Butler, "Half -day kindergarten literature discussion groups: A worthwhile endeavor" (2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3041081.