The Six Pillars of Character in 21st Century Newbery Award Books

 

The purpose of this qualitative content analysis was to determine how the The Six Pillars of Character as defined by the Character Counts! Curriculum are exemplified in 21st century Newbery Award books (2000- 2010). A team of 5 reader/coders, all experienced educational professionals, examined each of the 11 titles in order to investigate opportunities to explore with students the Six Pillars values of caring, citizenship, fairness, trustworthiness, respect, and responsibility. Data collection consisted of frequency counts for positive and negative examples of the characteristics. Coders also responded with rich description in their evaluation of themes and the suitability of each book for use in character education. In the report of findings, for each novel a focused summary is provided that references character themes in the text. Interviews with the books’ authors, as well as recommendations for classroom use by the team of expert readers supply additional practical resources for classroom teachers using literature to teach character education. The researcher sought to answer the overarching questions: Are 21st century Newbery Award books valuable resources for use in character education? Do these books provide opportunities to explore universal values defined as the Six Pillars of Character in the Character Counts! Curriculum?

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