ERIC Number: ED336219
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr-24
Reference Count: N/A
Beating the Odds: Navajo Children Becoming Literate.
A retrospective ethnographic study examined the sociocultural environments of fifth-grade Navajo children who have become successful readers. During the second month of school, six fifth-grade teachers at Fort Defiance Elementary School on the Navajo Reservation identified 66 of their 150 students as successful readers, a judgment that was verified for 63 of the students by individual reading evaluation based on miscue analysis. This success rate is much higher than those commonly reported for Navajo children taking standardized achievement tests. Demographic and sociocultural data revealed that the development of literacy among these children was not prevented by home environment conditions, such as low income, single parenting, alcoholism, and employment, nor by linguistic differences or limited amounts of written material in the home. Open-ended interviews with 11 female and 4 male students and their parents, teachers, and principal identified the home, rather than the school, as the most important factor in the students' development as successful readers. Within the home, the achievement of literacy was assisted by child-initiated activities and questioning and supportive adult responses, rather than by direct instruction. Two case studies detail some of the multiple paths to literacy in this Navajo community. This paper contains 22 references. (Author/SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Navajo (Nation)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual International Bilingual/Bicultural Education Conference (19th, Tucson, AZ, April 22-24, 1990).