All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jerry Aldridge

Advisory Committee Members

Lois Christensen

Lynn Kirkland

Maryann Manning

Deborah Strevy

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


The purpose of this qualitative study was to document the evolution of critical literacy and transformational writing in an inner-city kindergarten classroom in a mid-sized city located in the southeastern United States. This research involved 19 kindergarten students who were investigated in the naturalistic setting of routine instruction. Social issue texts were read aloud to students. After discussions of the texts, students responded to literature by creating exhibits, establishing a lost and found service for the school, helping peers and family cope with death, and partnering with the community nursing home. Throughout the study, audio tapes of student’s conversations and responses to questions were collected. Students were interviewed at the beginning and the end of the research study concerning their choices of writing topics. Drawings and written responses were also collected. Field notes taken during data collection were also analyzed along with the verbatim transcripts of the recordings. The collection of data continued for a period of 9 weeks. Results of this study indicated that five and six year old inner-city students are capable of transformational thought and action after engaging in critical literacy experiences. Planned activities with critical literacy encouraged the students to share expressions of peace by making peace exhibits for the school campus. Students created a lost and found service that helped their classmates and others find their lost belongings. iii They made books to be shared with individuals who have experienced death of a loved one. Furthermore, letters were written to patrons of a nursing home. The data analysis revealed that particular themes emerged from field notes and audio tapes as students engaged in critical literacy and transformational writing activities: (a) the importance of helping others, (b) sharing with others, and (c) the issue of peace. Identifying the purpose of critical literacy in this context and the conditions in which meaningful issues were shared with students, a greater understanding of the dimensions of transforming the world was emanated. As a result, 5- and 6-year-olds were capable of responding transformatively to critical literacy in the context of an inner-city kindergarten classroom.

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