Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Brett E Blake

Second Advisor

Kyle D Cook


Culturally Relevant Pedagogical (CRP; Ladson-Billings, 1995) and textual strategic approaches to reading development are gaining acceptance and broader usage among students of all ages and walks of life. With this shift, quantitative measures of efficacy can confirm, bolster, and source new policies and strategies for implementation in new and existing learning frontiers that engage at-home reading and family literacy practices. To this end, the Reading Builds Empathy literacy study seeks to develop and pilot a new instrument to be used in future intervention studies. Focusing on the active ingredient of culturally relevant pedagogy, empathy, and its three dimensions (affective, cognitive, and ethnocultural empathy) this instrument adapts proven methods for assessing early readers aged 6-8 on affective learning measures, namely Marinak’s (2015) Me and My Reading Profile, to construct a new tool to help reading researchers, educators, and families better measure and understand the power of early readers’ engagement with picture books. Outcomes from this study offered suggestions for future interventions to advance the use of picture books, development and use of empathy in a CRP context, for students’ reading and writing development, academic success, and lifelong learning.