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Nurture Reading for Black Males: Bridging The Achievement Gap

September 13, 2023

September 13, 2023

In the quest for educational equity, the Black Achievement Gap has been a persistent and challenging issue in the United States. One critical aspect of this gap is the discrepancy in literacy levels among African-American male students compared to their peers. 

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Understanding the Black Achievement Gap in Literacy

The Black Achievement Gap, which encompasses disparities in academic achievement between African American students and their white counterparts, manifests prominently in literacy skills.

Only 12% of Black males are proficient in reading by 8th grade. In 2019, only 6% of 12th-grade Black males were reading at the proficient level, and only 1% were reading at the advanced level.

Sage Journals

African-American male students often face unique challenges that can affect their reading proficiency:

Socioeconomic Disparities

Many African-American families face economic challenges that limit access to educational resources such as books, tutoring, and enrichment programs. Despite these discrepancies, we must nurture reading for Black males.

Teacher Quality

Disparities in teacher qualifications and experience can impact the quality of instruction received by African-American students, including reading instruction.

Cultural Relevance

The lack of culturally relevant reading materials can affect engagement and motivation, making it challenging for students to connect with what they are reading.

Low Expectations

Negative stereotypes and low expectations from teachers and society can affect students’ self-perception and, consequently, their performance in school.

“In 2019, the African American literacy rate was 87.1%, compared to 90.1% for whites.”

How Parents Can Help Bridge the Gap

Parents play a pivotal role in their children’s education, and there are several ways they can help their children excel in literacy. Many of these activities can be done at any age.

Early Literacy

Start early by reading to your child from a young age. This fosters a love for reading and builds foundational language skills. If your child won’t sit still to read, combine reading with another activity they love. 

Create a Literacy-Rich Environment

Surround your child with books, magazines, and other reading materials. Make regular visits to the library and encourage them to choose books that interest them.

Be a Reading Role Model

Demonstrate your love for reading. When children see their parents reading, they are more likely to view reading as a desirable activity.

Establish a Reading Routine

Set aside dedicated time for reading each day. Whether it’s bedtime stories or quiet reading time, consistency is key.

Discuss and Reflect

After reading, engage your child in discussions about the book’s themes, characters, and lessons. Encourage them to share their thoughts and interpretations.

Make Big Labels

Print out words that are objects in their bedroom. If you can cut the words out in large fonts and laminate them like flash cards but tape the words to the objects. Word shapes and reading the words associated with familiar things helps with reading comprehension. You are creating a word-rich environment.

Create a Reading Nook

Create a special place to read with age appropriate children’s books. It can be a blanket clipped over an upside-down card table, a tent, a small table and chairs with a bookshelf.

Reverse Reading

Have your child read to you. The best way to teach is to allow the child to be the teacher by reading to the parent. This method will sharpen their reading skills quickly.

“If a Black male is not proficient in reading by the 4th grade, they only have a 20% chance of graduating from high school on grade level.”

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Use Educational Tools

Use educational tools like “Hooked On Phonics” and “Readability Tutor” to reinforce phonics and early reading skills. These tools are designed to be engaging and effective in building strong reading foundations.

  • Hooked On Phonics:Hooked On Phonics” is a time-tested and trusted tool that can help improve literacy skills in children. Its systematic approach to teaching phonics can be especially beneficial for children struggling with reading. The program includes interactive activities, workbooks, and engaging stories designed to make learning to read enjoyable and effective.
  • Readability Tutor:Readability Tutor” is another valuable resource that offers personalized literacy support. It uses AI-driven technology to adapt to individual learning needs, making it an effective tool for improving reading comprehension and fluency.
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Click to learn more about Hooked On Phonics.
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Click to learn more about Readability Tutor.

The Black Achievement Gap in literacy remains a complex challenge, but parents can be a driving force in helping their African-American male students succeed. By fostering a love for reading, creating a literacy-rich environment, and using educational tools like “Hooked On Phonics” and “Readability Tutor,” parents can empower their children to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.

You can use this link to try Readability Tutor free for 30 days. Together, we can work to close the achievement gap and ensure equitable educational opportunities.

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