Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Language Education

Subject Categories

Language and Literacy Education


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


English and Applied Linguistics

Thesis Adviser

Ma. Joahna M. Estacio

Defense Panel Chair

Paolo Niño M. valdez

Defense Panel Member

Sterling M. Plata
Jennifer T. De Ramos


In the Philippines, where the demographics of students in elementary and secondary classrooms continue to change and diversify, the type of education given by educators and teachers unfortunately tend to consistently remain the same. A cultural mismatch, coupled with unchanging instructional techniques, lead to persistent issues such as the increasing number of students with reading difficulties (Firman & Ocampo, 2011), arise inside classrooms, for which a change in the teaching and learning process and the approaches used to facilitate it is needed. Specifically, instruction needs to be geared towards more culturally relevant pedagogy carried out by the use of culturally relevant texts, the use of which this study aims to explore. Culturally relevant texts are those that have content from which its readers can connect to, be it from their prior knowledge, backgrounds, or experiences (Ebe, 2011). These texts capitalize on students’ cultural backgrounds and prior knowledge to increase reading engagement, improve academic achievement, and develop critical competence (Ladson-Billings, 1995). With texts and materials that are more culturally relevant woven into the curriculum, students’ interest and engagement are held and maintained, and the resulting increased level of engagement lead to results such as better processing, comprehension, and achievement, as seen in studies such as those of Ebe (2011), Malik (1990), and Roe (2016). Combined with the use of literature circles, the effectiveness of culturally relevant texts is further increased. This is due to the fact that the use of literature circles combines two powerful ideas in education, which are independent reading and cooperative learning (Kennedy, 2010). Students are able to independently read a text they can relate better to, and the resulting comprehension that occurs from these conditions is further enhanced by the chance to discuss it with peers, gaining more insights into the text. Naturally, there are challenges and difficulties in implementation of programs like these. One of the most obvious present challenges facing the use of culturally relevant texts is the inadequate representation of cultural diversity in textbooks (Gay, 2000). Another significant factor to consider is teacher training – a text is only as good as a teacher who knows how to utilize it to improve what needs to be improved in class. In spite of all these, past research studies have demonstrated that, with sound theoretical backgrounds and appropriate preparation, the implementation of culturally relevant texts is possible and brings successful results. It is these results which the study aims to see – specifically, that the use of culturally relevant texts combined with literature circles works effectively to improve the reading comprehension of students and increase the level of relevance between themselves and the texts they read for school.

Abstract Format






Accession Number



Reading comprehension; Context (Linguistics)

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