Since its beginning, children’s literature has been influenced by white gatekeepers and power brokers. From authors, illustrators, and publishers to librarians, educators, and booksellers, the people creating and promoting children’s literature have been predominantly white (Borsheim-Black, 2015, Thomas, 2016, Welch, 2016). Due in no small part to this dominance, literature for young people has served as a platform that promotes white cultural supremacy, indoctrinating readers of all races into a default of whiteness beginning at very early ages (Elliott, 2016; Welch 2016). Given that children’s literature is an important pedagogical tool in classrooms (Gebhard, 2006; Hoewisch, 2000), it is crucial for preservice and in-service teachers to build critical consciousness of the dominant reading experiences that have been produced and provoked by this reality (Sterner, 2019). Drawing on post-intentional phenomenology (Vagle, 2014, 2015, 2018) and multilayered narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connolly, 2000; Connolly & Clandinin, 2006; Lather, 2007), this dissertation investigates the ways in which these dominant reading experiences—the phenomenon I have named reading whitely—shapes readership. To understand reading whitely, I consider, explore, and theorize its productions and provocations as they took shape in the learning experiences and course interactions of the preservice teachers and other students enrolled in an undergraduate children’s literature course I taught. Informed by this context, I situate reading whitely at the conceptual nexus of children’s literature (Bishop, 1990; Derman-Sparks, 2013; Thomas, 2016), teacher education (Darling-Hammond, et al, 2005), second-wave white teacher identity studies (Jupp, Berry & Lensmire, 2016; Jupp & Lensmire, 2016) and culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995, 2006, 2014). To engage with reading whitely, I selected a single course assignment, the Readerography, as my focal phenomenological material. The Readerography is a reading biography that asks students to explore their identity as readers and consider which books have been important in their reading life. I used four specific aspects of the readerography: the assignment, the list, the pivot, and the response. Analysis of student readerographies revealed that the participants are both informed by reading whitely and reinforce it. This dominance of whiteness and its normalization is a hidden force that must be disrupted through conscientization and praxis. Reading whitely, while influenced by several thought traditions, is my original theoretical concept. The term creates a platform to begin to dismantle the dominant reading experiences that circulate in the background of our normalized narratives around books and reading. Naming the phenomenon—using reading whitely as a heuristic for dominant reading experiences—is a first step toward articulating a new theory that helps understand the role of reading whitely in maintaining white supremacy. Building on these new understandings of what it means to read whitely, the study suggests the importance of developing critical knowledges to disrupt this phenomenon. The theory should inform efforts to promote equity-based literacy pedagogies that center anti-oppressive practices and disrupt white supremacy, to develop teacher education that is dedicated to social justice and extend understandings of why more inclusive children’s and adolescent literature is needed. It should also further conversations that guide the education of preservice teachers as they learn to read, use, and promote diverse and inclusive texts in their reading experiences.