This study aims to develop a 4-week reading comprehension intervention, grounded in the practice of compassion, involving middle school students reading justice-oriented narrative texts. Compassion in this context is defined as a feeling (affective state) that arises in bearing witness to others’ suffering and an understanding (cognitive state) of the context from the perspective of the sufferer, which can lead to a desire to alleviate suffering. From this definition, I conceptualized a critically compassionate reading comprehension framework as a contemplative pedagogical practice in K12 education. The project uses a design-based research approach that seeks to design a high-quality learning environment through the process of instructional fine-tuning to address diverse learning needs in the classroom. I seek to answer this research question (RQ): How do teaching and learning of critically compassionate reading of justice-oriented fictional narrative texts promote students’ critical compassion and reading comprehension? Most of the studies on literacy and empathy focused on perspective-taking and mentalizing. There have been insufficient empirical studies that attempt to widen this socio-cognitive perspective to contemplative practices in children’s literacy skills. Furthermore, mindfulness studies on contemplative practices in K12 schools are therapeutic in orientation, as opposed to focused on compassionate pedagogy.

Eric Claravall, EdD

California State University, Sacramento