In the education landscape the literacy of Black boys is viewed from deficit framing. Often, educators, politicians, and laypeople point to scores on standardized assessments such as the MSTEP, NAEP, ACT, SAT, and NWEA, these tests only tell a part of the story. The part of the story that those assessments do tell is the abject failure of schools’ ability to engage Black boys in school-based literacy and catapult them into proficient and advanced proficient reading levels. The part of the story that those assessments do not tell is the literate lives that Black boys lead. Furthermore, schools do a less than adequate job at employing their own theoretical framings that they themselves adopt to engage students in literacy instruction. Schools do not recognize how racism, antiblackness, deficit-oriented thinking held by society, and in schools specifically, impact the literate lives of Black boys. Asset-based framings allow us to conceive of literacy instruction and build school environments that value the textured identities of Black boys. This article compels educators to consider the complex identities of Black boys as they build instruction and to use multiple integrated socioculturally-based theoretical framings to underpin that instruction.

Author Bio

Dr. Aaron M. Johnson is a writer, teacher, and equity consultant. He currently works as the lead consultant for Archetype Consulting and is an adjunct lecturer at Wayne State University in Language, Literacy, and Literature. He can be reached at amdj9265@gmail.com.



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