The Kansas Literary Canon

A Study of Texts Taught in High School English Courses


  • Ambyr Rios Kansas State University



English curriculum, text selection practices, diversifying curriculum, high schools, literary canon


Selecting diverse texts is vital for creating culturally inclusive and responsive literacy classrooms. However, despite growing student diversity and a push for multicultural literature curricular adoption, little impact has been made on secondary teacher multicultural text selection. This text selection stagnation begs further examination amidst the alarming context of a marked reading decline in U.S. classrooms wherein fewer than one-third of students entered high school as proficient readers this year (Nation’s Report Card, 2022). This study uses data from recent high school graduates to unfurl text selection practices in Kansas high school English classrooms. Study results detail Kansas's most frequently taught texts, compare these texts to two previous studies, and suggest a continued homogeneity in text selection. These results demonstrate the need to understand the factors influencing text selection practices and the impact of traditional text selection on students’ engagement, motivation, and learning.


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Author Biography

  • Ambyr Rios, Kansas State University

    Ambyr Rios, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Kansas State University. Dr. Rios serves as the coordinator of the secondary English, speech/theatre, and journalism teacher certification programs at Kansas State and is a two-time English teacher of the year in urban districts of Baltimore, M.D. and Washington, D.C. Her education experiences as a classroom teacher, school leader, and curriculum director guide her research on ways to support pre-and in-service teachers with asset-based literacy approaches and instruction. Dr. Rios can be reached via email at





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