African American Boys’ Critical Literacy Development

The Impact of Two Strategies

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 Independent Scholar simmons@bcsdmi.com
  • 2 Wayne State University k.feathers@wayne.edu
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ABSTRACT

Critical literacy instruction has been offered as a means of improving the historically low reading achievement of African American boys. This study examined the impact of two strategies, disconnections and problem posing, on the critical literacy development of upper elementary African American boys. The boys were engaged in six instructional sessions using the strategies to foster discussion. Transcripts of the boys’ discussions across the sessions demonstrate that the strategies promoted the boys’ engagement in critical discussion, including comparing the text with their own life experiences, considering relationships between characters, and exploring the potential influence of the author’s gender on the story. In a short time period, the boys made substantial progress toward critical literacy.

Contributor Notes

Stiles X. Simmons obtained his EdD from Wayne State University in 2016. His area of concentration was reading, language arts, and literature with a cognate in educational leadership. Dr. Simmons currently serves as Superintendent of Baldwin Community Schools District, located in Baldwin, Michigan. E-mail: simmons@bcsdmi.com

Karen M. Feathers recently retired from Wayne State University, where she served as the Chair of the Reading, Language Arts, and Literature Department in the College of Education. Her research focus is reading comprehension, informational reading, and eye tracking. E-mail: k.feathers@wayne.edu

Boyhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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