Thesis

Black Males, Racial Stereotypes, Language Acquisition and Reading Proficiency

Across racial groups black males possess the lowest levels of literacy ability. Past research has found that prior to becoming school aged, family dynamics such as parental education and socioeconomic status influence ones language development and thus their literacy ability. Few studies have examined which factors within the middle school environment impact the reading proficiency of black male students. The current study proposed that negative teacher perception and language use in the classroom are underlying factors. Data from the final wave of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study was analyzed (e.g., the eighth grade sample only). The sample was further restricted to only include black male students. Results from a hierarchical multiple regression revealed that black male students who were perceived by their teachers negatively were more likely to have lower reading proficiency when compared to other black male students. Furthermore, black males who talked to others about what they have read in class almost daily were more likely to have higher reading proficiency compared to those black male students who did not. These findings support the notion that negative teacher perception and language use in classroom contribute to the reading proficiency of black male students.

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