Term of Award

Spring 2005

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Curriculum Studies

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Michael McKenna

Committee Member 3

Joyce Bergin


This qualitative study examined the perspectives of teachers, students, and parents, regarding the use of grade level textbooks for reading instruction of African American students with reading disabilities. The study seeks to uncover the thoughts of these participants about the benefits, or lack thereof, for this practice. Additionally, participants were asked to share perceptions of whether the minority status of the school contributed to a lack of adequate educational attainment for students. Building on the work of critical race theorists such as Derrick Bell (1995), Alan Freeman (1995), Richard Delgado (1995), and Jean Stefancic (2001), this study explored ways in which race can be used as a lens for examining critical issues of literacy for minority students. A critical race theory framework was used to show the interconnectedness of race and socioeconomics in student outcomes. A critical narrative inquiry method (Clandinin & Connelly, 1999) was used to capture the stories of participants from a metro Atlanta middle school which serves a predominantly African American population. Data was gathered through a school and

class portraiture, participant profiles, interviews, participant observations, teacher questionnaires, and teacher reflective journal entries. Desirably, educators and policy makers should conceive education for minority students through multiple lenses. The views presented in this study emphasize low academic achievement among African American students as a pervasive concern that should not be ignored. With this research, I hope to help enhance public awareness that academic needs are different for different groups of students. This should not be viewed as negative but embraced as diversity. Through this awareness, I would like to see more culturally responsive pedagogy that will help meet the needs of all students, particularly those who learn differently.


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