Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Laura May

Second Advisor

Natalie Davis

Third Advisor

Jennifer Esposito

Fourth Advisor

Ana Solano-Campos


This study explores the ways in which four preservice teachers enrolled in a culturally responsive teacher education program talked about race during read-alouds. Utilizing an embedded, single case study design, the study draws on critical race theory and racial literacy to answer the research question: How do preservice teachers in an equity-oriented teacher preparation program talk about race with elementary-aged students of color during read-alouds using texts that they have characterized as culturally responsive? The data from field notes, lesson transcripts, and preservice teacher reflections were collected during an intensive 6-week literacy course. Using constant comparative analysis, three themes were constructed: talking but not talking, bridging, and distancing. Findings illustrate that preservice teachers negotiate racial discussions by engaging in superficial conversations that do not move beyond general descriptions (talking but not talking), by separating race from social implications (distancing), and by creating generative connections between themselves, their students, the texts, and race (bridging). Findings also point to constant shifts between bridging and distancing as preservice teachers work to “seem and feel” racially literate. The study suggests that preservice teachers would benefit from teacher education programs that develop racial literacy, particularly in programs designed to prepare teachers to work in under resourced schools.


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