Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The purpose of the study was to introduce concepts of the Affective Response Approach to Literature to students in two seventh grade classrooms in order to determine whether the use of affective responses changes students' attitudes about reading and about social studies. Also measured was student achievement in both areas.

The subjects for the study were the 88 seventh graders enrolled in the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Junior High School in the 1989-1990 school year. Prior to the study all students were evaluated using a modified Rhody attitude assessment tool in order to measure their attitude toward reading and social studies. A modified primary trait scoring system modeled after Cooper’s writing evaluation tool, was used to measure student aptitude in reading and social studies.

For a period of ten weeks, content area teachers implemented elements of Bleich’s heuristic and affective response techniques in covering reading in their perspective areas. The language arts teacher reinforced concepts covered in content areas with expanded uses of both Bleich’s heuristic and personal responses. Some seventh graders were absent on test days or failed to complete assignments. Theses students’ scores were not included in the analysis.

At the end of the study, the students’ abilities and attitudes were again evaluated using the above measurement tools. Results of the study showed a significant increase in both student attitude and aptitude in both reading and social studies as a result of using affective response approaches. These results were consistent when the class scores were compared as a whole and when they were compared in thirds when grouped by ability.

In all comparisons, student aptitude improved markedly as shown in pre to post test scores. Student attitude scores never reflected the same improvement. In comparison of pre to post test of the top third of the class, attitude assessment scores reflected almost no improvement in attitude due to use of affective response techniques. However, since the attitude of the class as a whole was shown to improve significantly at the end of the study, and since the aptitude of the students, as a whole and at each level, reflected an important improvement, it can be said that affective response techniques are a useful and effective new set of strategies for teaching reading in the content areas.


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