Caring for African American kindergartners during picturebook readalouds

Patricia A Daley, University of Pennsylvania


This qualitative, descriptive study, using a social justice and anti-deficit framework, examined the ways in which one White teacher of urban African American kindergarten children conducted book discussions while reading picture storybooks to her students. Observation was focused on how the teacher sought to form connections with her students and the picture storybook being read. Ethnographic methods were used to collect three primary sets of data. The first consisted of audio tapes of 30 whole class (n = 30 to 33 students) readaloud discussions, ranging in length from 20–40 minutes each, collected from September, 2001 through May, 2002. The second consisted of audio taped interviews of seven African American adults, six of whom were connected closely with this classroom. The third consisted of two interviews of the classroom teacher, which were combined with three interviews collected during a pilot study. All data were analyzed using open coding, axial coding and selective coding. The first finding was that African American adults in this study clearly articulated a culturally situated theory of educational caring congruent with existing African American feminist theories of caring. Their theory was grounded in their own life experiences, including those in this classroom. Existing African American feminist theories of caring were refined and extended by these results. The second finding was that, during wide-ranging discussions, the teacher used three major strategies to form connections with her students, the book being read, and a wider curriculum. These strategies were: Storytelling, which enabled and ensured student knowledge and comprehension of children's literature through connection directly with book text; Probing and Predicting, in which teacher and students asked predicting and probing questions about the text, moving conversations towards higher levels of thinking; and, Self-Referential Connecting, in which teacher and students connected stories to their own lives, reflected on what they liked about a story, or told their own stories in response to the story being read. All readalouds were suffused with examples of ways in which the teacher demonstrated the culturally situated theory of caring derived from the interviews and the related literature.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Elementary education|African Americans

Recommended Citation

Daley, Patricia A, "Caring for African American kindergartners during picturebook readalouds" (2004). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3125803.