Literature discussion groups respond to culturally relevant children's literature in the kindergarten classroom

Teresa Donato Miller, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Low socio-economic status (SES) African American students are often viewed as lagging behind in literacy development in American classrooms because their abilities and contributions are frequently not valued by mainstream society. Therefore, low SES African American students need opportunities to blend their rich home literacies with the mainstream models of literacy they often find in place in school. This teacher research study focuses on the reading responses of one class (28 students) of low SES kindergarten aged children of color who live in the inner city. Rosenblatt's transactional theory of reader response and Vygotsky's theory of social interaction provide the basis for investigating the African/African American literature selected for this inquiry. Findings suggest that low SES emergent readers of color have the ability to critically analyze culturally relevant texts, given a platform that honors their discourse, in ways that might challenge the responses of their middle class counterparts and/or those of some adults. Consequently, the opportunity to blend home and school cultures in the primary years of schooling has the potential of reshaping the face of formal education by creating more meaningful experiences for all groups of students.

Subject Area

Language arts|Literacy|Reading instruction|Preschool education

Recommended Citation

Miller, Teresa Donato, "Literature discussion groups respond to culturally relevant children's literature in the kindergarten classroom" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3084872.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3084872

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