The purpose of this study was to explore what I, a general education classroom teacher, know about using arts integration to build English Learners (ELs) reading comprehension. As the primary researcher, I am a fifth-grade, general education teacher in an intermountain West, Title 1, urban school where the typical classroom contains over 50% EL students. The studys two other participants were Martha, the director of the universitys arts partnership, and Camilla, a fellow faculty member who integrates arts into her curriculum. This qualitative Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practice research methodology was utilized to uncover my knowledge of teaching practices and pedagogy while simultaneously focusing on student learning (LaBoskey, 2004; Loughran, 2007; Pinnegar & Hamilton, 2009). I used Miles and Huberman (1994) to examine three arts-integrated curriculum units, first and second annotations, and critical friend commentaries in order to uncover the practical and theoretical influences resident in my teaching (Fenstermacher, 1984; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Pinnegar & Hamilton, 2009). The findings revealed five main themes: arts integration, reading comprehension, intentional planning, teacher knowledge, and class culture. Arts integration increased ELs abilities to build requisite schema, acquire essential vocabulary, and attend to oral reading fluency to increase text comprehension. Furthermore, by understanding these themes and their subcategories, I uncovered my tacit knowledge (Polyani, 1967) as it related to my decision-making process for using arts integration. Likewise, the self-study methodology allowed me to articulate my personal practical knowledge of ELs needs and why I employed art-integrative practices to introduce and reinforce content area understandings.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education

Date Submitted


Document Type





qualitative self-study research, arts integration, reading comprehension, English learners, critical friends