Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Education for Social Justice

Dissertation Committee

C. Bobbi Hansen, EdD, Chairperson; Reyes Quezada, EdD, Committee Member


kindergarten, culturally sustaining pedagogy, literacy, asset enhancing pedagogy, early literacy, multilingual learners


Students who attend school possess their own “funds of knowledge” from their home life and prior experiences (Moll et al., 1992). Yet, learners from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds are not viewed from a strengths-based perspective but rather a deficit perspective. The deficit perspective perpetuates the oppression and marginalization of students of color and multilingual students. Using a qualitative comparative case study research design, the study is rooted in the tenets of Critical Pedagogy (Freire, 2000), Critical Literacy, and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy as it sought to uncover insights into asset-based instructional strategies that allow multilingual learners opportunities to participate equitably while developing essential foundational early literacy skills. As such, the following questions guided the study: What literacy instructional practices already exist in primary-aged classrooms that can draw from multilingual learners' assets? How does the density of multilingual learners in the classroom impact literacy practices?

As a result of the data collection, it was apparent that multimodal supports, English Language Development, and Creating Identity and Agency through Inclusive Classrooms were asset enhancing strategies already occurring in kindergarten classrooms. What the study also revealed was a discrepancy in the number or frequency of strategies being used in the classroom based on the density of multilingual learners in the classroom. The findings and analysis section discuss recommendations for state and district policies, and implications for district professional development.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Learning and Teaching