Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Susan L. Groenke

Committee Members

Michelle D. Commander, J. Amos Hatch, Judson C. Laughter


When the English teachers at Creswell High School were presented with data that exposed their students’ of color underachievement per English Language Arts standardized state test scores, the teachers were tasked with creating a literacy initiative to increase students’ performance. Using Action Research and Autoethnographic methods, this study seeks to explore Black students’ perceptions of Creswell Reads, a ‘one book, one school’ summer reading program, along with their personal literacy identities both in and out of school. I helped to implement this literacy program before I realized that many American classrooms, including mine, were ostracizing students of color yet wondering why these same students were underachieving per standardized test scores. As a result, this inquiry also parallels my racial awakening to the exploration of how to make a local school’s literacy initiative—one I had a hand in making—more student centered and racially conscious and to present those findings to Creswell High School’s literacy team.

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