Becoming all that I can be: A Narrative Analysis of African-American Students' Literacy Perceptions and Experiences in an Urban Title I School
This narrative inquiry used the frameworks of critical literacy and culturally responsive pedagogy to understand literacy experiences of recent high school graduates. The purpose of the study was to explore the perceptions of recent African-American high school graduates’ literacy experiences throughout high school. Also, this study sought to promote educators’ acknowledgment of culturally situated and culturally diverse perceptions of African-American students’ varied literacy practices as viable contributions to the conceptualization of literacy curriculum. Through in-depth interviewing, three participants who were graduates of an urban, historically low-achieving, Title I high school told stories of their past, present, and future. Participant narratives were analyzed using the sociocultural approach to narrative analysis. Findings from this study revealed students’ varied literacy practices helped construct meaning of their experiences in school and out of school. Additionally, findings suggest building relationships throughout high school with teachers and peers cultivated increased engagement in literacy. Further, participants felt their overall high school literacy experiences prepared them for college level literacy tasks. As a contribution to the existing body of research for African Americans, this success-oriented narrative recommends pedagogical shifts in literacy instruction that not only acknowledge the social and cultural literacy practices of African American students but also incorporate multi-modal forms of literacy in the critical analysis of the dominant curriculum.
Wingfield, Marcia Vernise