“I Can’t Find No Black Books”
Helping African American Males Find Books They Want to Read
Among the many factors contributing to the historical lack of reading gains of our Black male students is the absence of texts accurately and authentically representing African American characters in today’s schools. In addition, well-meaning educators are not adept in identifying and selecting these types of texts in order to provide African American male students with books that mirror their lived experiences. The purpose of this article is to provide educators with a tool to aid in the selection of potentially culturally relevant literature for their adolescent African American male students. Based on a larger study, the researcher explored what eight African American eighth grade students valued when reading group-selected texts. The findings indicate that the participants displayed strong preferences toward the character’s race, personal characteristics, age, and “real world” events and experiences featured in the texts. This article privileges those voices to provide a rubric for educators to use, explore, and reflect upon as they incorporate potential culturally relevant texts into their day-to-day instruction and classroom libraries.
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