ERIC Number: EJ1206407
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Race Talk in Preschool Classrooms: Academic Readiness and Participation during Shared-Book Reading
Beneke, Margaret R.; Cheatham, Gregory A.
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, v19 n1 p107-133 Mar 2019
Reading literature to engage young children in critical discussions about race -- and how it impacts their daily lives -- is a promising practice. This study examined how two teachers and eight young children talked about skin colour as they read books about racial diversity, and the extent to which participation structures and conversational topics influenced how teachers and children constructed, resisted, and/or reproduced discourses of race and racial injustice during shared-book readings. We draw on critical perspectives on classroom discourse to understand the identities (i.e. teacher and learner) and discourses (i.e. early childhood literacy) that the children and teachers co-constructed. We suggest that teachers used shared-book reading time to enact a discourse of literacy readiness and treated the activity as an opportunity to teach academic skills (e.g. classification and colour vocabulary) through teacher recitation. During these shared-book reading experiences, we argue that teachers and children constructed skin colour as politically neutral, without acknowledging the word 'race' or its deeply embedded meanings in the U.S. Based on this analysis, we discuss implications for teacher educators in terms of critical literacy practice in early childhood.
Descriptors: Race, Preschool Education, Preschool Teachers, Preschool Children, Readiness, Ethnic Diversity, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Racial Identification, Reading Instruction, Reading Strategies, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Oral Reading
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A