Teaching Adolescent Literacy to Racially Diverse Students
Racially diverse urban youths are struggling within the public school systems. This particular demographic of students consistently performs low on reading achievement tests throughout America. The problem lies with an abundant number of White educators who are unable to meet the needs of their diverse student body. This leads in to the two overarching inquiry questions for the literature review: How can White educators support the academic achievement of urban adolescents in the classroom? Specifically, how can educators improve adolescent literacy within urban environments? I used the Ladson-Billings and Geneva Gay’s culturally relevant pedagogy as framework for finding literature themes uncovering the promising practices. The four themes I revealed were culturally relevant curricula, cultural congruity in classroom instruction, cultural learning community and cross-cultural communications. The promising practices I reiterate for the reader are implementing a balanced reading instruction, utilizing specific comprehension reading strategies, incorporating popular culture in the classroom, choosing culturally relevant literature, developing situations to empower students, and creating a cultural learning community. A reflection piece is also incorporated where I implemented several beneficial strategies to help develop students’ literacy. The future implications of my findings are that culturally relevant teaching practices should be utilized in all classrooms. The promising practices that were uncovered can be successfully implemented with all students and do not need to be restricting to racially diverse students. More classroom-based research must be done to continue gauging and using innovative literacy instruction styles.