Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Lisa M. López, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarah Kiefer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Hadley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lauren Braunstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Collett, Ph.D.


elementary, multimodal literacy, middle childhood, multicultural, multilingual


Multilingual and multicultural students face the challenge of understanding where their ethnic identity lies in learning. The education system in the United States lacks inclusivity in classrooms, continuing monocultural views and monolinguist ideals as the norm and encouraged in curriculum and standards (Flores, 2020). This dissertation study seeks to break cultural and linguistic ideologies to better understand the development of ethnic identity in three Latinx fourth-grade students by creating a digital story. Through a sociocultural lens that includes a bioecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Vélez-Agosto et al., 2017) and multimodality (NGL, 1996) framework the study emphasizes all funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992) in making-meaning with one’s identity. This study uses a collective case study (Stake, 1995) methodology focusing on a holistic analysis of three Latinx multilingual multicultural learners’ digital storytelling projects and their everyday actions. This study seeks to contribute to how Latinx young adolescents understand their ethnic identity in school through assigning meaning to the objects and artifacts they use in their digital stories, and how they construct hybrid texts to deliver their messages. The findings from each case contribute new insight into the lived experiences of Latinx preadolescents. Additionally, each case was instrumental in the collective understating of cultural and ethnic identity development. This study provides a rich account for this particular group of students’ development of cultural and ethnic identity.