Summer 7-5-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Marcia Rockwood

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Elizabeth Erdmann

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Karine Moe


Studies continue to show the alarming achievement gap between white and minority students throughout the United States. The purpose of this capstone was to explore how critical literacy can be used to build classroom community among minority adolescents, with the intention of helping diverse learners feel successful in school. Included is research on the effectiveness of and how to use critical literacy practices, the importance of building community in the secondary classroom, and the state of minority education as a whole, encompassing the unique difficulties encountered by minority students in a primarily white school. Three major themes emerged from the findings: the importance of teaching students existing societal power structures, building voice, and incorporating student choice. A six-week curriculum was created based on these three themes. It surrounds the anchor text The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as well as race relations in the United States, spanning from slavery to the Black Lives Matter campaign. Built into the curriculum are a variety of supplementary texts by diverse authors and many easily adaptable lesson options involving student choice, including a student narrative and an action research project. There is also a rationale for each week of lesson plans, as well as additional texts that could be used and suggestions for how to differentiate the curriculum. This curriculum is recommended for all secondary teachers looking to add diversity, choice, and voice into their teaching practices.

Research Methodology

Curriculum Development, Survey


At-risk Students, Community Building, Curriculum, Multicultural Education

Included in

Education Commons