Critically Engaging Students Using Social Justice Topics in Children's Literature

Macie Gillis, Leah Nillas, Faculty Advisor, Leah A. Nillas

Research output: Faculty Advisor of Undergraduate Research


Second grade students engaged in literature that focused on how their actions affect others, cultural differences, and family differences. This study was conducted to detect how students engaged with these various social justice topics. These topics were incorporated into the regular curriculum during reader’s workshop and small reading groups. There are many books teachers may be using already that they could integrate a social justice lesson into that would engage students in the lesson (Pohan, 2013). Engaging students in literature is particularly important because engagement involves students being motivated and actively participating in what they are being taught (Barkley, 2009). Data was collected through field notes that included observations and student quotes, lesson plans that kept track of the literature used in teaching language arts, and student reflections on how their actions affect others. Integration of social justice topics engaged students to actively participate in discussion, ask questions, and find connections to themselves and the world.

Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Apr 8 2017


  • educational studies poster


  • Education

Cite this