This study looks into the diversity of elementary level literature used in classrooms for read alouds. Research has shown (e.g., Crisp, 2016; Harrington, 2016), that in many schools, there is a lack of diversity in the literature created for young students. This leaves students feeling that they are not a valued member of the community when they are not represented in the literature read and other students are unable to accept and appreciate the diversity found in their community.
This study worked with two first-grade teachers and had them keep a list of all books that they read aloud over a two-month period. Content analysis methods were used to analyze each read-aloud selection for various representations of diversity (race, gender, religion, family representations, etc.) In addition, teachers participated in two interviews in order to ask about their selection of classroom read-alouds, the diversity of their choices for read aloud, and what influences them in their selection of literature.
Findings suggest that teachers read-aloud selections were guided by the curriculum, connection to a theme, and personal connections. Using these as guides led to a lack of diversity in the books read aloud. This lack of diversity impacts all students by not allowing them to have a book that they can see themselves in and it impacts other students because they are unable to learn about other differences from them to prepare them for the future. Some suggestions to increase the diversity of literature available to future students are to be intentional in looking for diverse books and be vocal about the lack of diversity from publishing companies. This can be done by using different websites, such as Diverse Book Finder, and working with local librarians.
Semester/Year of Award
Curriculum & Instruction
Open Access Thesis
Curriculum and Instruction
Taylor, Sydney N., "Investigating the Gap: A Study of the Diversity in Elementary Literature" (2020). Honors Theses. 751.