Group Membership and Talk Quality in University Book Clubs

Meghan D. Liebfreund, Melissa Wrenn


A critical issue in teacher education is supporting pre-service teachers in their ability to understand and support diverse learners. This study examined the discussions pre-service teachers engaged in during book clubs about multicultural literature to determine how we, as educators, can support discussions that can lead to participants deepening their understandings of the texts and considering multiple perspectives. Specifically, the research question addressed how group composition in the book clubs influenced the quality of talk surrounding multicultural children’s literature. The discussions included 39 participants (students = 26, faculty = 9, staff = 4). The groups that included faculty and staff with students, compared to student-only groups, engaged in higher quality discussions in all areas examined. These include cooperation and collaboration, reason and logic, information and evidence, and perspectives and voice. Implications are discussed for using book clubs as a pedagogical tool to support teacher education around complex issues of diversity and inclusion in our classrooms.


book clubs, pre-service teachers, multicultural children’s literature

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