Exploring Critical Literacy with Early Childhood Educators

Lyndsey A Benharris, University of Rhode Island


The purpose of this participatory action research study was to explore teachers’ adoption or avoidance of critical literacy pedagogy in their preschool classroom. This two-year study was conducted at a small New England public preschool. Six veteran special education teachers participated in this study. The participants contributed to bi-weekly meetings, individual journals, and interviews. All data was analyzed using critical discourse analysis. This study documents how some teachers embrace LGBTQ texts while others avoided these texts completely. This study also documents the tensions that can arise when taking on socially risky texts or critically analyzing these topics. This study examined teachers’ views on previously constructed social schemas or figured worlds, focusing on family structure, race, gender roles, and cultural differences. The evidence provided by this study is useful to researchers and educators as they seek to understand critical literacy perceptions as viewed through teachers’ own words and writings. It provides a framework for administrators in implementing critical literacy professional development. Also, it gives administrators tools and information on how teachers can approach bullying issues through critical literacy.

Subject Area

Early childhood education

Recommended Citation

Lyndsey A Benharris, "Exploring Critical Literacy with Early Childhood Educators" (2017). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10269886.