Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Reading Education


Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Education


College of Education


Valarie Lee, Ed.D.

Committee Member 1

Marjorie Madden, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Susan Browne, Ed.D.


Critical conversation, Diverse texts, Early literacy, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), second grade


Language arts (Elementary); Multiculturalism


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Elementary Education | Language and Literacy Education


The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the effects of reading diverse texts during SEL morning meeting time and observe how 2nd grade students engage in conversations. Diverse texts were selected related to themes of identity, race, poverty, gender, sexual identity, and gender identity. Data collected included student conversations and journals. After analyzing the data collected, it was found that the inclusion of diverse texts during SEL morning meetings yielded positive results. Students engaged in more personal conversations when they could connect to the text and speak freely, students spoke more when they had control of the conversations, and students showed increased self and social awareness. Additionally, classroom climate and increased student empathy was observed. Furthermore, students' understanding of SEL, as it relates to diversity, carried over into other classroom activities. Implications for the study highlight the importance diverse texts and critical conversations can have on SEL. With the ongoing changes to SEL practices in New Jersey schools, diversity learning standards, and additional guidelines set forth by the NJ Department of Education, educators must work toward equitable SEL. Through administrative and parental support in the inclusion of diversity in SEL instruction, we can better support our students' needs. The limitations present in the study reflect the need for future research to gather additional data to support the need for diversity in the SEL conversation.