Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Instruction in Primary Reading: The Power of Knowledge and Focused Pedagogy in Eliminating the Achievement Gap for African American Students



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The purpose of this study is to explore best practices in meeting the needs of African American students in the primary grades and to investigate teachers’ knowledge of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Instruction (CLRI). The mixed method, sequential-explanatory design included the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative portions of the study incorporated cross-sectional, descriptive research to ascertain teachers’ knowledge and perspectives of CLRI, as well as a non-experimental, comparative analysis of African American and Caucasian student performance. Qualitative data collected through a semi-structured discussion group expounded upon the quantitative phases of research. A mixed data analysis integrating all three data sources provided insight into designing effective classroom instruction and addressing the achievement gap. The findings from this research imply that primary educators who endeavor to learn about and value students as individuals, understand each student’s level of progress as a reader, and act upon this collective knowledge with an instructional methodology that influences how students approach new learning will find greater success in meeting the needs of African American students.