Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Jane M. Gangi, PhD

Second Advisor

Anthony A. Pittman, PhD

Third Advisor

Mary Ann Reilly, EdD

Abstract

This study examined how the use of African American literature that depicts Black males influences the reading comprehension and the reading motivation of Black boys as demonstrated through oral, written, and creative expressions. Studies have been conducted using children’s literature with Black boys to examine their social interaction with the literature. However, there is limited research with Black boys interacting with African American literature depicting African American males. This research built upon and extended previous studies to determine the impact of the use of African American literature depicting Black males as an instructional strategy to influence the reading comprehension and motivation of Black boys. This study considered the use of creative responses to this literature, such as drama, writing, and visual arts.

A qualitative case study design was employed. A purposeful sample of third, fourth, and fifth grade Black boys were recruited to participate in this study. The research took place in a northeastern city at a local community center from July 2011 to August 2011. Data were collected using several instruments. These instruments included a reading motivation survey, a reading inventory, semi-structured interview questions, interactive read-aloud book discussions, with oral and written responses from the boys. Triangulation of methods was utilized (survey, interviews, book discussions, and boys’ written and illustrated artifacts). Field notes were kept, and interviews were transcribed. All data were analyzed, and coded to identify patterns and themes that emerged from the data. Those themes were: The boys experienced new texts, had new reading aspirations and learned about their culture; the boys demonstrated comprehension of text through active engagement, discussions, drawings, and written responses; the boys experienced racial inequalities through literature; the boys were exposed to new mentors; the boys were empowered and could envision their futures through their summer reading; and, the boys demonstrated spiritual awareness. The result from the study indicate that using African American literature depicting Black males is a valuable tool that can lead to increased comprehension and motivation.