Our Librio Forest animals are pretty smart: Patricia aka Mrs. Owl is writing her Master’s Thesis3 Minute Read
When Patricia’s not busy tap, tap, tapping her keyboard in her role as Mrs. Owl, she’s busy studying psychology at Bern University. In this interview, she tells us about her latest project: her master’s thesis!
Tell us about the project you’re working on at the moment.
I’m currently writing my master’s thesis, which I can do alongside my work for Librio – which is great! My work is about diversity in children’s books. Children’s books can have a big impact on the development of a child. For example, if children are given exciting books that they identify with well, they prefer to listen and are more involved in reading aloud. This, in turn, significantly promotes language development and interest in reading. However, for many children of our population, there’s a lack of main characters in children’s books with which they can identify. Through our study, we want to investigate how different children react to personalized children’s books.
How did you come up with the idea for your Master’s thesis?
I thought long and hard about how I could combine my psychology studies with my work at Librio. Psychology and personalized children’s books at first glance, are not necessarily the most obvious combo.
Finally though, I found a solution in the field of developmental psychology. Basically: The scientific study of personalized children’s books – because there’s not yet been a great deal of research around this subject. I took a deeper look at this question and found a great, committed supervisor who supports me in my project. There are now three of us who are each writing a master’s thesis on this topic.
Which Librio books are you using for this study?
We work exclusively with the book “Welcome to School”, for two reasons: One is that we’re conducting our study just before the summer holidays. This means that the target group is children who’ll soon be starting school. The theme of the book “Welcome to School” is therefore the perfect premise.
The other is the age recommendation for the book, which roughly matches the target group we want to research. All the children are between five and seven years old.
How far are you with your thesis? What part are you currently working on?
We’re right in the middle of testing at the moment. We film the children in situations where they’re reading and later generate coding for the quantitative evaluation. For example, a verbal reaction would be how often the child says things like, “Hey, that’s me!” or “Wow, I’ve been to India before!” or otherwise refers to the story. The non-verbal reactions show up in other ways, for example, how often the child laughs or points to things in the book.
We’ve tested fifty children in different kindergartens in Switzerland so far, and about twenty children are still to come. Soon we’ll be at the end of the test phase.
Sounds exciting!! But also like a lot of work. How do you manage it all?
Yes, sometimes it’s definitely quite a lot to handle! I’m very glad that I have the support of two colleagues and that we can share the tasks. The last three weeks have been very intense and I didn’t have a proper break – but relaxation is slowly showing on the horizon!
Fortunately, Librio offers me a lot of flexibility in my work. I can arrange my working hours quite freely and also easily take a call from a parent in the office.