• What’s the Deal With Junie?: Responses from Second and Third Graders to Junie B. Jones

      Pelttari, Carole; Hull, Sarah C.; The College at Brockport (2012-10-01)
      This study examined what children noticed from the Junie B. Jones popular culture series through the use of a book club. The two books read were Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook (Park, 1997) and Cheater Pants (Park, 2003). Semi-structured and open-ended questions were utilized to gather data. Then, the participants collaboratively created a script based on one of the books. All six sessions were videotaped so that I could review them for accurate data collection. The children shared many comments throughout the sessions. Generally, the comments indicated that Junie’s language did not always sound “right,” and the children knew better than to behave like her for fear of doing something wrong or receiving negative consequences from an adult or peer. The participants stated that Junie’s language errors and unacceptable behaviors made the book funny. The children often suggested more acceptable behaviors. An abundance of evidence led to three conclusions. First, children notice and are critical of Junie B. Jones’s language errors while reading books from the Junie B. Jones series written by Barbara Park. Second, children notice and are critical of Junie B. Jones’s inappropriate behaviors while reading books from the Junie B. Jones series. Finally, children are engaged and utilize reading skills while reading popular culture literature. Students can become better readers if they are given a choice to read popular culture books in school. Also, when students read and discuss popular culture books in book clubs, the students can expand their thinking and further develop their literacy skills. My findings lead me to consider the use of popular culture in student-selected reading and literacy instruction to be beneficial.