Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Ann M. Trousdale


The purpose of the study was to describe young children's efferent and aesthetic responses to informational trade books. During the study a first-grade teacher read aloud the trade books to the whole class and four children were interviewed following the read-alouds using a standard open-ended interview approach. A scale developed for the study was used to code the efferent and aesthetic level of the responses as: most efferent, primarily efferent, primarily aesthetic, and most aesthetic. Data were analyzed to answer the following questions: (1) Do children have aesthetic as well as efferent responses to informational trade books? If so, how do these two stances affect and interact with each other? (2) In response to informational trade books, do children have identity themes, or characteristic ways of responding? (3) Are there clear patterns of response across cases? (4) How or to what extent do the subject matter, format, and illustrations of books seem to influence or affect children's responses? The results indicated that the children did have aesthetic as well as efferent responses to informational trade books. They responded predominantly at the primarily efferent level, but they did have aesthetic responses. These responses interacted with each other through transformations which involved three types of shifts: slide to an adjacent level, skip over an adjacent level to the next, and hop which crossed several levels. The children did not have characteristic ways of responding but exhibited variety in the number of responses, word count within different levels of response, and types of transformations during the course of the study. The children did not have clear patterns across cases. At times they might respond in a similar manner to some questions, and then at other times, they would have quite diverse responses. The pattern within and between children appeared to be one of variety. In reference to the last question in the study, the children responded differently to the four books in the study, even to books by the same author. This study suggests that children will respond efferently and aesthetically to informational trade books and exhibit diversity within their responses.