Treatment of gender in basal readers

Maxwell W. Hunter, Kay A. Chick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Nominal level gender and gender-related information in four, well-known basal reading series was gathered and analyzed. For each of 746 stories, the number of male and female main characters in text and illustrations was determined. Employment status, job title and estimated yearly salary were obtained for employed adult, human, main characters. The total number of male main characters in text and illustrations was significantly greater than the total number of female main characters. The proportion of adult, human, male main characters who were employed was significantly greater than the analogous proportion of female main characters. It is asserted that given the developmental status of children who use basal readers, and in the absence of explanation, it remains objectionable for significantly more basal reader main characters to be male. The finding in the current data that adult male characters, beyond their greater number, were also disproportionately more likely to be employed is seen to present an additional basis for objection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
JournalReading Research and Instruction
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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