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ERIC Number: ED555344
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 121
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-3519-5
Reading While Black: Exploring the Voices of African American Struggling Readers
York, Tinaya
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
Early adolescent Black struggling readers do not believe being Black affects their reading. While race is not a factor that affects reading achievement for these young adolescent struggling readers when it comes to reading, their voices do highlight that there are racialized contexts in which reading and learning how to read occur. Their early experiences show us that their nuclear and extended family members were instrumental in helping them learn how to read. In school, however, there are still some gaps in their experiences with culturally informed practices. The students had limited access to culturally relevant materials and practices. When their cultural stories are shared in school it can be characterized as the masterscript (Schwartz, 1992); a reshaped and acceptable rendering of the history of Blacks (slavery, Emancipation, Martin Luther King, Jr., equality) according to White people. Their voices teach us that three distinct domains are at work and need to be honored when supporting them as readers. They are: Reader identity (who am I as a reader?), racial/cultural identity (who am I as a Black person?), and purpose for reading (why is reading important to my cultural and social identities? Why is reading important for me personally?). The purposes for reading are foundational to developing both the racial/cultural identity and the reading identity. They don't necessarily need books written by or about Black people, they need good books. They need (1) safe social spaces within classrooms to develop their reading identity, (2) opportunities to experience the power of reading, and (3) access to a variety of cultural stories. Future research needs to increase the understanding of readers such as Jahare, Harlem, Kenyon, Terry, and Casey. What are the best ways to develop Black early adolescents reading identities, their cultural/racial identities, and their purpose(s) for reading? Future research also needs to tackle how the tension between a historical context steeped in race and a current context steeped in post-racial rhetoric, will impact the literate lives of Black children. Continued work that brings Black voices to the forefront will help us all understand the nuances in learning to read that hopefully will positively impact Black children's reading achievement. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A