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ERIC Number: ED566575
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 319
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3394-7698-8
Using Poetry as a Communication Multimodality to Encourage Reading Engagement of Selected African-American Learners: A Case Study
Ward, Cherie A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Howard University
This study examined the use of poetry as a multimodal communicative text to encourage reading engagement in selected African-American learners with mild intellectual disabilities. Framed by critical discourse theory, genre theory, and Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, this investigation presented poetry as an alternative text (written/oral, audio, and visual) that embodied the cultural schema that this population brought to the community of learners and allowed them a plethora of ways to communicate understanding and meaning. The use of poetry in this manner is contrary to the historical and current mainstream's sole use of traditional narrative texts within a systemic structure aimed at achievement on standardized tests (Thattai, 2012). By expanding the current structured curriculum base to be more inclusive of programs like those used in this investigation such as "Lumumba's Playground and Laughing and Learning with Language" (Ward, 2007), children will be engaged in the reading readiness process. Over the period of two weeks, during the daily sessions of the regular reading block in the students' general classroom, the participants reported to an assigned classroom for a 45 minute-intervention. The case study involved four African-American students: two females and two males (with and without spell out IEPs), with all of them reading below basic. They were selected from second and fourth grade students who attend a local District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) during the 2014-2015 academic year. Using both traditional narrative and poetic texts, the intervention involved renegotiating the written/spoken word to incorporate movement, rhythm, dance, drama, play and the student's imagination to teach, learn, and have fun. The purpose of the investigation was to engage the students in the reading readiness process to the extent that they not only embraced it, but, more importantly, were eager to participate in it. "Lumumba's Playground and Laughing and Learning with Language" (Ward, et al.) provided a pivotal learning text in which the student serves as the fundamental measurement tool for successful learning, versus a traditional system that measures success by results of standardized testing to which the student must acclimate. This was an ethnographic case study that used categorical description to analyze the data. A preponderance of evidence supported the effectiveness of poetry as a communication multimodality to encourage reading engagement for African-American learners. This study explored the renegotiation of texts, both narrative and poetic. The students were more engaged with the latter because of the use of rhythm, rhyme, meter, movement, tone, and technology. Also, the research supported poetry as a viable culturally appropriate text and culturally appropriate pedagogy which invites and excites students to the extent that they became interconnected to the process, the subject content, and the classroom of learners. The research suggests that when students are engaged, they are liberated to communicate meaning in a multiplicity of ways, including verbal, nonverbal communication, as well as with the use of audio and visual technology. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 2; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia