The goal of this action research project was to become a more competent educator when it comes to incorporating diverse literature in my classroom, and facilitate conversations about race, gender, and power among my students. A contributing factor to the ability to critically think is the capacity to read and reflect. Nationally, at least 8.7 million low-income students in kindergarten through fifth grade read below grade level. Research shows that income is closely tied to literacy rates (Van Pelt, 2018). By helping students connect texts to their own lives and critically analyze them, teachers are setting students up for success in the workplace, but also in their interpersonal relationships and daily lives. The methods of inquiry for this study focused on the principles and practices of action research, using self-study aligned with professional teaching standards, teacher artifacts, journal entries, classroom artifacts, lesson plans, and EDTPA materials as a means of data collection. I used these methods to address three research questions: (1) How can I encourage students to analyze texts through application to personal and social contexts?; (2) How can I develop pedagogical skills to engage students in discussions about race and power?; and (3) How do I develop a library that reflects critical literacy practices? Major themes that emerged from my research were self-study, expert recommendation, and student choice. In order to improve my disposition and ability to lead discussions about race and power, I need the background knowledge and practice to be prepared for those discussions.

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Jaclyn Caires-Hurley

Committee Member

Lin Wu



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Language and Literacy Education | Secondary Education

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