Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Jeanne S. Schumm

Second Committee Member

Eugene Provenzo, Jr.

Third Committee Member

Maria S. Carlo

Fourth Committee Member

Cong Li


This study focused on elementary-aged children’s preferences for and perceptions about narrative and expository text. Preference refers to the children’s choice of reading material for themselves, what they prefer to read. Perception refers to the children’s beliefs about what their same-aged peers would like to read. The current study examined these preferences and perceptions about narrative and expository text through the lens of two distinct frameworks – social constructivism and engaged reading. The current study was a systematic replication and extension of a qualitative study conducted by Chapman, Filipenko, McTavish, and Shapiro (2007). It replicated the original study by conducting it with first grade students, and extended the original study by including fourth grade students. Equal numbers of children in the study were represented at three reading achievement levels (above, on, and below grade level). Two individually administered book preference (Open and Closed) tasks and interviews were administered and analyzed to determine elementary-aged children’s genre preferences and perceptions about narrative and expository text. Qualitative research methods were used to glean an understanding of primary and intermediate students’ preferences and perceptions. The findings suggest that first and fourth grade boys preferred expository text while first and fourth grade girls demonstrated an equal preference for both narrative and expository genres for themselves. At both grade levels, both boys and girls held the perception that boys like expository text and girls like narrative text. There were no differences in terms of preferences or perceptions of both genres among children of different reading achievement levels. There were gender and grade level differences in the number of reasons provided for their book choices with girls providing more reasons than boys and fourth graders providing more reasons than first graders. However, there were not marked differences in the reasons they provided for their choices. Findings are discussed in light of implications for instruction, assessment, and future research.


Reading; narrative; expository; genre preferences; elementary; perceptions