Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery; Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Scholarship of Faith Integration


The purpose of this project is to empower Christian young adults to engage with secular literature adolescent literature in a manner that encourages them to grow in their faith. The project has three main components: a case study article on Christian reading practices based on their reviews of The Shack, a literature review of Christian reading theory, and a five day instructional unit plan designed to teach high school freshmen Christians to engage appropriate with secular literature.

In the case study, over 400 reader reviews and comments on the Christian fiction novel The Shack were examined in order to determine a description of Christian reading practices. The analysis revealed that Christians have diverse reading practices but still share central concerns about discerning truth, determining texts‘ meanings, and interacting with literature in a way that pleases God.

The literature review on Christian reading theory explored the existing theories on why and how Christians should read secular literature. Five broad categories surfaced from the synthesis of the existing research. These categories included the ideas that Christians should practice discernment in what they read, look for God‘s truth in secular literature, analyze the structure of texts, appreciate the beauty of literature, and use literature as a means for exploring other worldviews.

The instructional unit plan was modeled after the literature review with each day of instruction representing one of the five categories covered in the literature review. The instructional unit was designed with the constructivist philosophy of education in mind, giving students the opportunity to explore the ideas presented to them but ultimately draw their own conclusions. The unit was taught in January 2011 to the Freshmen English class at Kankakee Trinity Academy. Teacher reflections are included after each lesson.


Honors Capstone Project completed in 2011 for Olivet Nazarene University.