Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Gender differences exist among different aspects of children's development (such as social, cognitive, and emotional). Children's narratives have been used as a common assessment tool (Libby & Aries, 1989; Wang & Leichtman, 2000) to learn more about gender differences. Knowledge of existing differences enables educators to individualize their teaching for boys and girls in order to benefit their development. The present study focused on gender differences in the following areas of American children's oral narratives: characters, emotional tone, structure, content, and language. The participants of the study were 14 kindergarteners and first-graders (7 boys and 7 girls) between ages 6 - 6.5, recruited from a university laboratory school and public elementary school in the Midwest. Each subject was presented four oral story starters during two individual interviews (two story starters each day). Findings of the study indicated that boys tended to tell significantly more stories that reflected a threatening atmosphere, while girls told significantly more stories that involved an aggressive mood. Among other findings of this study, which were not found significant, were boys' tendencies to tell more imaginary stories and girls' tendencies to tell more stories with stronger links to reality. In terms of structure, girls' narratives were found to be longer and included more simple sentences.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Rebecca K. Edmiaston

Second Advisor

Penny L. Beed


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this graduate research paper and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with the URL.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 67 leaves)



File Format