SCET Journal 2020/2021

« Race Matters

nent to consider when looking at comprehending read- ing material. The common core requires comprehen- sion of more complex text (Bennett et al., 2017). This is a problem for African American students, specifically in urban settings, as the research shows they have low performance in reading and lack of access to real books (Teal et al., 2007). To exacerbate the problem, the texts may not be culturally relevant. Therefore, Af- rican American students cannot use their background knowledge to comprehend the reading material. Research into computer assisted interventions to in- crease oral reading fluency and comprehension among African American students has been conducted using culturally relevant passages. Bennett et al., (2017) conducted a study using culturally relevant passages in a computer assisted intervention that monitored oral reading fluency and comprehension. The find- ings show that most students who participated in this intervention were motivated and showed gains in oral

reading fluency and comprehension. This may be due to culturally relevant reading passages. Students may have been able to draw from background knowledge to support comprehension and motivation. Conclusion The achievement gap between African American students and White students continues to plague American schools (Burchinal et al., 2011; Thomas, 2019, Benson et al., 2020). The research suggests that culturally relevant teaching is a possible way to close the achievement gap (Jones, 2012; Ladson-Billings, 2009; Mahari de Silva, 2018; Hollie, 2019). Cultural- ly relevant educators seek to ensure the curriculum includes the lived experiences of African American stu- dents. That means book choices, writing assignments, and other content areas that reflect the experiences of African American students (Johnson & Eubanks, 2017; Hall, 2008; Hollie, 2019). Craig, H. K., Thompson, C. A., Washington, J. A., & Potter, S. L. (2004). Performance of elementary-grade African American students on the Gray Oral Reading Tests. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools , 35 (2), 141–154. https://doi. org/10.1044/0161-1461(2004/015) De Silva, R., Gleditsch, R., Job, C., Jesme, S., Urness, B., & Hunter, C. (2018). Igniting student learning through teacher engagement. Multicultural Education , 25 (3–4), 23–28. Duke, N. K., Cervetti, G. N., & Wise, C. N. (2018). Learning from exemplary teachers of literacy. Reading Teacher , 71 (4), 395–400. Gardner-Neblett, N., & Sideris, J. (2018). Different tales: The role of gender in the oral narrative–reading link among African American children. Child Development , 89 (4), 1328–1342. Goodman, Y. M., Watson, D. J., & Burke, C. L. (2005). Reading miscue inventory: From evaluation to instruction . Richard C Owen Pub.


Benson, T., Bryant, A., & Gezer, T. (2020). Segregation within integrated schools: Racially disproportionate student- teacher assignments in middle school. Education Policy Analysis Archives , 28 , 1–24. epaa.28.5503

Bennett, J. G., iii Gardner, R., iii Council, M. R., & Ramnath, R. (2017). Education And Treatment of Children , 40 (2), 145–186.

Burchinal, M., McCartney, K., Steinberg, L., Crosnoe, R., Friedman, S. L., McLoyd, V., & Pianta, R. (2011). Examining the Black-White achievement gap among low-income children using the NICHD study of early childcare and youth development. Child Development , 82 (5), 1404–1420. https:// Connor, C. M. D., & Craig, H. K. (2006). African American preschoolers’ language, emergent literacy skills, and use of African American English: A complex relation. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research , 49 (4), 771–792.

South Carolina English Teacher



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