“It is Not Fair”: Literary Discussions about Race and Social Justice among Korean-Origin Kindergarten Children

By So Jung Kim.

Published by The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 1, 2015 $US5.00

As part of a nineteen-month longitudinal study, this qualitative case study examined how literary discussions about race-themed picture books help young Korean bilingual children develop emergent notions about race and social justice. This study focused on six Korean bilingual children’s reading of four books during a read-aloud session at Ms. Lee’s classroom at the Korean Language School (KLS) in mid-western US. As a theoretical base, the study adopted reader response criticism focusing on Sipe, Beach, and Rosenblatt. Multiple data sources were used including (1) audio- recordings, (2) open-ended interviews, (3) children’s artifacts, (4) surveys, and (5) observational field notes. The collected data were analyzed based on thematic analysis. One of the findings was that literary discussions helped the children critically examine the books, and deepen their thoughts on a broad range of racial issues such as racial diversity, freedom, discrimination, equity, and equality. The findings suggest that merely attempting to instruct dual language/literary skills to bilingual students is not sufficient to help students to grow up as individuals who live empowered lives as participants of global communities. The fundamental goal of this study is to pursue educational equity and quality by providing a more democratic vision for teaching literature in young bilingual children’s classrooms.

Keywords: Social Justice, Bilingual Children, Children's Literature

The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, Volume 22, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.13-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 1, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 861.398KB)).

Dr. So Jung Kim

Language and Literacy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA