Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Literacy Studies: Reading (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth Petroelje Stolle, Ph.D.

Academic Year



Research has shown a persistent literacy achievement gap between African American males and their peers. This problem has its roots in historical inequity within urban schools serving students living in poverty, as well as gaps in school readiness and learning related skills among many young Black boys. This project seeks to understand the various components affecting emergent literacy within these communities and seeks to better understand how teachers and schools can form meaningful and productive partnerships with families. For too long these children and families have been viewed through a deficit model and have struggled to form positive self-identities as readers due to bias and low expectations. This project begins by taking teacher leaders through an exploration of culturally relevant pedagogy and practices and involves them in planning and recruiting interested kindergarten students and caregivers for an early literacy support club called “Black Boys Read!” Students and parents will be exposed to mirror texts and historical role models through activities intentionally planned to fit their cultural learning styles, strengths, and interests. Feedback will be sought through pre- and post-implementation surveys and early literacy data will be examined to determine the project’s success.