Talking story through literature in Hawai'i: Fifth graders' responses to culturally relevant texts
AuthorEbersole, Michele Michiko
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore the content of children's responses to culturally relevant literature in Hawai'i and how their individual understandings and responses evolved over time. This study utilized qualitative research methods and ethnographic techniques. A case study group of six students, three girls and three boys of differing ethnicity, was selected from a fifth grade class in Hawai'i. Children participated in four different literature discussions, a short story, novel study, text set study, and class read-aloud. Data collection included transcripts from literature discussions, interviews, observational field notes, and collections of written artifacts. Categories were constructed through inductive analysis of data. The findings showed that through literature discussions of culturally relevant literature the children defined what it means to belong to their local culture in Hawai'i, refined their beliefs about the concept of culture, used their knowledge about history to build understandings, and shared how they connected with the literature. As a result of the literature discussions, individual children were able to identify with the literature and came to new understandings about themselves and their cultural lives. Children should be encouraged to read books that show representations of their cultural lives. However, merely reading literature is not enough. Children need instructional and teacher support so that they may engage in thoughtful discussions about the literature and find issues that are meaningful to them. Providing opportunities for children to find and discuss personal and cultural issues, establishing a supportive environment to talk about literature, and using powerful selections of literature are ways teachers help children engage in discussions about culturally relevant literature.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture