Date of Award:

10-2017

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Education

Department name when degree awarded

Teacher Education and Leadership

Advisor/Chair:

Steven P. Camicia

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore how fifth graders develop critical consciousness regarding the self and the world through critical literacy approaches using multicultural children’s literature. I employed Lewison, Flint, and Van Sluys’ four dimensions of critical literacy. I used a qualitative case study to design, frame and conduct this study in order to collect data and examine students’ cultural patterns including values, beliefs, behaviors, and language that they enacted in the critical literacy practices. I collected data through classroom observations, semi-structured students and teacher interviews, informal conversation, researcher’s reflective journal entries and field notes, and student-made artifacts. Findings show that the students were more aware of their own sociopolitical positions in the school, home and society, as well as how their lives were shaped by the sociocultural and political forces. The students were able to link their critical understanding of their own lives to larger sociopolitical issues associated with power and privilege, and this understanding encouraged them to engage in action for social justice. They were eager to take action such as writing a petition for a gender fairness agenda to create a positive school climate. This study is important for educators who hope to encourage students to become critical thinkers, as it shows how children critically engage in reading, discussion, and action regarding social justice issues through multicultural children’s literature with critical literacy approaches.

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