Award Date

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Cyndi Giorgis

Second Committee Member

Chyllis Scott

Third Committee Member

Christine Clark

Fourth Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Fifth Committee Member

Linda Quinn

Number of Pages



Literacy and learning is a social process, one that is both transformative, empowering, and can often lead to social change. The following study is based on the idea that literacy can be used as a tool not only to teach the basic skills of reading, but the skills for individuals to learn to be compassionate towards others, understand their individuality, and envision how their self can alter their community for a more just world. The frameworks that support these concepts are socio-cultural theory, reader response theory, and critical literacy theory. The intersection of these three theories highlight the importance of the reader as an active learner, while recognizing the influences of the social context and how it impacts literature discussions concerning issues of equity, justice, and empathy towards others. Within this critical ethnographic case study, I explored how students in an elementary classroom create meaning and respond to literature among their peers and how their perceptions and conceptions about their self and world change. The following dissertation begins with Chapter 1, highlighting the basic background information of the research and the study. Chapter 2 develops a framework, as mentioned, discussing the intersection between socio-cultural theory, reader response theory, and critical literacy. Chapter 3 outlines the details and central components of the critical ethnographic case study. Chapter 4 delves into the findings of this case study. Finally, Chapter 5 concludes the dissertation including summary of results, implications, limitations, and future research. Through this investigation, I hope to extend the existing research and knowledge on how to provide a cooperative literary community that is transformative and empowering for young children.


Critical Literacy; Elementary; Literature Circles; Multicultural; Reader Response; Social Justice



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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