Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Some teachers face frequently changing populations of students, making it difficult to gain cultural knowledge that is important to support student learning. The aim of this study was to explore how adult language-learner students in intensive English programs (IEPs) respond to children’s picture books portraying their home countries or cultures. Reader response theory (Rosenblatt, 1995) and cultural scaffolding (Gay, 2002; i.e., the use of student culture to support student learning) are the initial frameworks upon which the study was developed. The study was qualitative in nature and driven by a desire for the researcher to gain more cultural knowledge about students through their responses to children’s literature. This motivation led to considering other teacher-driven research and, thus, teacher practitioner research (sometimes called “teacher action research”) was a strong influence on this study’s methodology. Participants completed questionnaires, attended focus groups, and participated in interviews in order to capture their responses to children’s books. Data revealed unique responses, complemented by overarching themes that both answered and challenged the notion of gaining specific cultural knowledge.


ESL, Children’s Literature, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Reader Response, Teacher Research, TESOL

Document Type


Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Yoo Kyung Sung

Second Committee Member

Donald Zancanella

Third Committee Member

Huaqing Qi

Fourth Committee Member

Lucretia Pence