Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Physical Activity Gender-Role Stereotyping: An Analysis of Children's Literature

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Physical Activity Gender-Role Stereotyping: An Analysis of Children's Literature

Article excerpt

Heidi Ann Henschel-Pellett, Minnesota State University-Mankato

The benefits of a physically active lifestyle are immense. Early childhood is an especially good time for encouraging and socializing children's attitudes and behaviors toward regular physical activity and lifetime fitness participation (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1996). Reading is one way children are socialized, and the way physical activity is portrayed in school based learning (i.e., reading) materials can have a lasting impact on the way children view their roles in activity participation. Traditionally, school reading texts have portrayed boys almost three times as many times as girls, with both genders being depicted in mainly stereotypical fashion (Weiller & Higgs, 1989). However, few recent studies have examined gender roles as related to activity participation in reading, particularly for younger children just beginning to learn to read. The purpose of this study was to examine two nationally recognized reading text series (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993; Sing, Spell, Read, Write, 1996) used in the first grade of one school district. Analysis of the books in the reading series involved a tabulation of all portrayed activities, participant's gender, and the ratio of girls to boys. …

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