Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Teaching


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Madden, Marjorie E.


Education, Elementary--New Jersey; Gender identity in education--New Jersey


Elementary Education and Teaching


This study is a qualitative case study that explores the connection between literacy and gender in a first grade classroom environment. The subjects for this study are twenty first grade students in a regular education classroom located in a southern New Jersey elementary school. For this study, students were observed with the attempt to answer three questions: 1) What gender stereotypes have these first graders internalized coming into the classroom? 2) How are these gender beliefs expressed in the language arts classroom? 3) What are teachers doing to foster these biases in their students? Data collected includes student writings, discussions, and everyday recorded events. This data is analyzed utilizing the qualitative approach, where themes are identified and linked back to the initial question. Findings reveal a strong link between gender and literacy. This is evident particularly through the ways students voice gender understandings in various literacy activities. This study also suggests the power of the teacher, either positive or negative, in shaping the gender identities of students. Understanding this power becomes an implication of this study for teachers who wish to create unbiased classroom environments.