Creating Engagement & Empathy through Multicultural Nonfiction Read-alouds with Kindergartners

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The United States continues to become more diverse in our ever-changing world, and an important goal for students is to develop cultural awareness and understanding towards differences. One way to develop empathy and understanding in the classroom is through multicultural nonfiction read-alouds. This six-week teacher-research study focused on kindergarten students’ comprehension and understanding of vocabulary words through the use of repeated read-alouds of multicultural nonfiction texts. The findings showed that comprehension and vocabulary development increased after the second reading, but more importantly, there was an increase in empathy and compassion towards others that was developmentally age appropriate. The kindergartners’ perceptions of the inequalities fueled a strong sense of right and wrong as they actively engaged in discussions on topics surrounding segregation, gender inequities, and the overall mistreatment of others. By creating opportunities for young children to learn about culture and social justice, there is hope for our ever-increasing diverse society.


Betty Sturtevant Award winner