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The Effects of Multicultural Education on Literacy


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Title: The Effects of Multicultural Education on Literacy

The Effects of Multicultural Education on Literacy
  • Ramona Fabian
  • Education 7201
  • Professor OConnor-Petruso
  • Fall 2011

Table of Contents
  • Introduction
    Slide 3
  • Statement of the Problem
    Slide 4
  • Literature Review
    Slides 5-10
  • Theorists
    Side 5
  • Pro Literacy Slide
  • Con Literacy Slide
  • Pro teacher Slide
  • Con Teacher Slide
  • Statement of Hypothesis
    Slide 11

Table of Contents continued
  • Suggested Strategies
    Slide 12
  • Alternative Strategies
    Slide 13
  • Method
    Slide 14
  • References
    Slide 15- 22
  • Index Suggested Books
    Slide 23
  • Permission Slip/ Survey
    Slides 24-27

  • From my observations most classroom education is
    done by a curriculum based on ethnocentric
    standards. Let me explain myself, when children
    are learning about world history this is done by
    learning about the history of the United States,
    but the United States is not the whole world.
    When literacy blocks are being depicted in the
    curriculum most books read are those that
    students living in the U.S. understand, what does
    a student that just came from the Caribbean
    understand about snow, or certain holidays only
    celebrated here. By doing research on this
    particular topic I want to better understand the
    impact that multicultural and non-multicultural
    education has on the students literacy level and
    on the teachers teaching methods.

Statement of the Problem
  • Literacy is a number one problem in the United
    States. According to the United Nations
    Development Programme Report 2009, the United
    States is number forty-five on the list and
    number twenty in rank. Based on the results of
    the standardized tests, new instructional methods
    both for the teacher and the students are needed.
    The United States is becoming a very diverse
    country as each day passes by and therefore we
    should adapt or structure the system to meet
    everyones needs in order to reach high literacy
    achievement rates.

Literature Review Theorists
  • We need to stop the dishonesty and ineptitude of
    policy makers whose prescriptions for change are
    based on evidence-free ideological convictions
    (Nieto Bode, 2010 Hirsch, 1988).
  • Multicultural literature plays a significant role
    in the development of children's cross-cultural
    understanding (Harper Brand, 2010 Hinton
    Berry, 2004).
  • As human beings evolve, the network of
    understanding becomes more and more complex
    therefore we need to educate our children with an
    integration of ethnic texture (Dooley, 2008 Lim,
    2004 Randencinch, 1998)

Literature Review Pro Literacy
  • Multicultural literature books make connections
    to the lives of young children. It reaffirms
    their cultural identity by seeing themselves and
    their experiences represented in the books. It
    gives them a sense of pride and helps them
    connect and speak of issues that are salient and
    familiar to them (Canen, 2003 Harper Brand,
    2010 Hinton Berry, 2004/2005 Locke Cleary,
    2011 Smolen, Collins, Still, 2008 St.Amour,
  •  Multicultural literacy books can be a mirror or
    a window reflecting a childs own
    characteristics and validating familiar cultures
    and experiences (Harper Brand, 2010 St. Amour,
  • Multicultural literature teaches student about
    the world, its peoples and cultures. It
    encourages students to bring their own cultures
    and languages into the classroom. Culturally
    responsive instruction strengthens students
    connectedness with schools, which result in a
    reduction of behavior problem. It fosters
    childrens understanding of and respect for their
    own cultures, as well as the cultures of others
    (Barksdale, Richards, Fisher, 2002 Harper
    Brand, 2010 May, 2011 Modla Wake, 2008
    Randencinch, 1998).
  • Multicultural books promote positive attitudes
    towards literacy and helps improve reading
    comprehension, writing quality and vocabulary. It
    is essential for academic advancement of all
    students particularly for at risk students
    (Harper Brand, 2010 Schaedel Lazarowitz,
    2005/2006 Smolen, Collins, Still, 2008).

Literacy Review Pro Literacy Continued
  • Multicultural literacy challenges the take for
    granted messages and meanings attached to the
    world around us. Students learn to challenge
    assumptions, reject racism, and other forms of
    discrimination, to broaden their belief systems,
    and to develop more complex understanding of
    literacy, diversity and schooling. This produces
    learners who have competencies in and can operate
    successfully in two different cultures (Bruna,
    2007 Gibson, 1984 Modla Wake St. Amour,
  • Multicultural literature affirms cultural and
    linguistic identity and it establishes a greater
    understanding of themselves and others (Canen
    2003 Harper Brand, 2010).
  • Rich language is embedded within multicultural
    literature they are exposed to new vocabulary.
    It is characterized by captivating illusive
    techniques and authentic stories within all
    genres (Ernst Mathis, 2007 Harper Brand,
  •  Greater variety in literature makes it more
    likely that all children will have access to
    narratives that represent their various
    backgrounds as well as enrich and enlarge
    cultural awareness. With understanding of
    different cultures will come respect for
    differences, tolerance for conflicting beliefs,
    and the recognition of the common characteristics
    that all cultures share (Eldering, 1996 Gibson,
    1984 Norton, 1990 Schaedel Lazarowitz,
    2005/2006 Smolen, Collins, Still, 2008 St.
    Amour, 2003).

Literacy Review Con Literacy
  • Differences between home and school cultures can
    result in misunderstandings, referred to as
    cultural discontinuity and cultural difference.
    This mismatch between school and home literacy
    practices creates an inability of students to
    produce school based literacy output (Modla
    Wake Randencich, 1998).
  •  Multicultural inclusions in schools and
    classrooms collections of books and media may be
    limited to folklore, which when used alone can
    reinforce stereotypes, or pay scant attention to
    multicultural literature (Hinton Berry, 2004
    Randencich, 1998).
  •  Students who do not see their culture reflected
    in the literature they read may believe that they
    have no value and little to no importance in
    society and in school (Canen, 2003 Harper
    Brand, 2010 Hinton Berry, 2004 St. Amour,

Literacy Review Pro Teacher
  • It is important for pre-service teachers to have
    an extensive knowledge base about books
    representing a variety of cultures because this
    will help students critically analyze their
    cultural, social, and political worlds. This
    results in the understanding of more than one
    cultural perspective in the minority group
    (Barksdale, Yoon).
  • Culturally responsive teachers are sensitive to
    the challenges that some of their students face
    and at the same time see the strengths that
    students from other cultures bring to the
    classroom. The culturally relevant teaching
    strategies have the potential to challenge
    students academically and intellectually while
    treating them with respect and dignity (May,
    2011 Modla Wake). 
  • Learning to teach is a complex undertaking, but
    the challenges and tensions are points for growth
    and learning. Teachers who understand culture,
    who are familiar with the functions of culture,
    and who are aware of the dimension of culture are
    less likely to experience cultural conflict with
    their students and have the potential to
    dramatically influence multicultural education
    for literacy (Modla Wake Randencich, 1998
    Thomas Vanderhaar, 2008).

Literacy Review Con Teacher
  • Teachers beliefs about and attitudes towards
    children who are different from themselves may
    well affect the teachers ultimate instructional
    practices and interactions which result in
    tensions in the classroom (McIntyre, Hulan,
    Maher, 2010 Modla Wake Thomas Vanderhaar,
  • There is a scarcity of teachers willing and able
    to use multicultural literature, most of the
    nations teachers are monolingual while their
    students are increasingly limited- English
    proficient (Modla Wake Randencich, 1998).
  • Pre-service teachers bring little awareness or
    understanding of discrimination, they must be
    aware that culture is as fluid and ever changing
    as students who enter the classroom. Antiquated,
    ethnocentric curriculum that does not honor this
    fluidity does not engage the learner in a
    contemporary and self-significant dialogue, which
    wakens their identity construction process
    (Canen, 2003 Modla Wake Towell Similan,

  • Hypothesis 1 Integrating multicultural books in
    the curriculum over a two month period with two
    second grade classrooms in P.S. X Brooklyn N.Y.,
    will increase literacy levels by way of running
  • Hypothesis 2 Integrating multicultural
    education awareness (services) in teachers over a
    two month period with two second grade classrooms
    in P.S. X Brooklyn N.Y., will increase literacy
    levels in their students.

Suggested Strategies
  • Inviting parents to contribute childrens home
    literacy efforts to their school portfolios may
    increase levels of literacy.
  • Working ingeniously to connect community with
    further literacy efforts may increase literacy
  • In-depth discussions about multicultural books
    and their messages may increase literacy levels.
  • Open mind portrait about different cultural books
    increases cultural awareness and literacy levels.
  • Reading a book in English and then writing an
    analysis in Spanish helps both languages stay
  • Teachers can use students experiences as a basis
    for their writing and for their interactions with
    quality multicultural literature.
  • (Harper Brand, 2010 Modla Wake Randencich,

Alternative Strategies
  • Songs have messages and stories built into them,
    about life and different cultutes.
  • Taking a look at lyrics is just another form of
    telling a story.
  • Writing poetry or reading different cultural
    poetry may increase literacy levels.
  • Storytelling about their cultures history or
    similar books in the classroom can bring
    importance to the child and books.
  • Visual Culture and technology is an added benefit
    to accessing different types of cultural
  • (Abraham, 2010 Hinton Berry, 2004 Smolen,
    Collins, Still, 2008 St. Amour, 2003Towell
    Siilan, 2009)

  • Participants In this research paper the
    participants will be two second grade classes in
    P.S. X in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Instruments Instruments that will be used are
    multicultural books, running records and a

  • Abraham, L. (2000). Visual literacy in a
    multicultural environment Integrating aesthetic
    with critical visual awareness. Journal of Visual
    Literacy, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 9-18.
  • Barksdale, M., Richards, J., Fisher, P.,
    Wuthrick, M., Hammons, J., Grisham, D.,
    Richmond, H. (2002). Perceptions of preservice
    elementary teachers on multicultural issues.
    Reading Horizons, 43 (1), 27-48.
  •  Bruna, K. R. (2007). Finding new words How I
    use critical literacy in my multicultural teacher
    education classroom. Journal of education for
    Teaching, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 115-118.
  • Canen, A. (2003). Child education and literacy
    learning for multicultural societies The case
    of the Brazilian national curricular references
    for child education (NCRs). Compare Vol. 33, No.
  •  Dooley, C. M. (2008). Multicultural literacy
    teacher education Seeking micro-transformations.
    Literacy Research and Instruction, 47 55-75.

References Continued.
  •  Eldering, L. (1996). Multiculturalism and
    multicultural education in an international
    perspective. Anthropology Education Quarterly,
    Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 315-330.
  • Ernst, S.B., Mathis, J.B. (2007). Multicultural
    literature Reading within a new literacy
    context. Journal of childrens literature, Vol.
    34, No. 1.
  •  Gibson, M. A. (1984). Approaches to
    multicultural education in the United States
    Some concepts and assumptions. Anthropology
    Education Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 94-120.
  • Harper L. J., Brand S. T. (2010). More alike
    than different Promoting respect through
    multicultural books and literacy strategies.
    Childhood Education 86,4 pp.224-233.
  • Harris, Joyce L. (2003). Toward an understanding
    of literacy issues in multicultural school-age
    populations. American speech-language-hearing
    association, Vol. 34, 80-82.

Refrences Continued
  • Hayden, R., Anderson, J., Gunderson, L. (1997).
    Literacy learning outside the classroom
    Literacy learning from a multicultural
    perspective. The Reading Teacher, Vol. 50, No. 6,
    pp. 514-516.
  • Hinton, K.V., Berry, T. (2004). Literacy,
    literature, and diversity. Journal of Adolescents
    and Adult Literacy, pp. 284-288.
  • Hirsch, E.D., JR. (1988). Cultural literacy What
    every American needs to know. Vintage Books. A
    Division of Random House, New York.
  • Lim, B. (2004). Aesthetic discourses in early
    childhood settings Dewey, Steiner, and Vygotsky.
    Early Childhood Development and Care, Vol.
    174(5), pp. 473-486.
  • Locke, T., Cleary, A. (2011). Critical literacy
    as an approach to literary study in the
    multicultural, high school classroom. English
    Practice Practice and Critique. Vol. 10 (1), pp.

References Continued
  • May, L. A. (2011). Situating Strategies An
    examination of comprehension strategy instruction
    in one upper elementary classroom oriented toward
    culturally relevant teaching. Literacy Research
    and Instruction, 50 pp. 31-43.
  •  McIntyre, E., Hulan, N., Maher, M. (2010). The
    relationship between literacy learning and
    cultural differences A study of teachers
    disposition. Journal of Reading Education, Vol.
    35 (3), p. 19-25.
  •  McMunn Dooley, C. (2008). Multicultural literacy
    teacher education Seeking micro-transformations.
    Literacy Research and Instruction, 47 55-75.
  • Modla, v. B., Wake, D. G. Using a
    culturally-responsive approach to multicultural
    literature Preparing pre-service teachers to
    work with all students. College Reading
    Association, pp. 293-311.
  • Norton, D. E. (1990). Teaching multicultural
    literature in the reading curriculum.
    International Reading Association, Vol. 44, No.
    1, pp. 28-40.

References Continued
  • Randencinch, M. C. (1998). Multicultural
    education for literacy in the year 2000
    Traversing comfort zones and transforming
    knowledge and action. Peabody Journal of
    Education, 73 (34), pp. 178-201 Literacy
    Research and Instruction, 47 55-75.
  • Schaedel, B., Lazarowitz, R., H. (2005/2006).
    Literacy development in a multicultural city.
    International Journal of Learning, Vol. 12, No.
  •  Smolen, L. A., Collins, L, J., Still, K, L.
    (2008). Enhancing cultural understanding and
    respect with multicultural text sets in the K-8
    classroom. Ojela, Vol. 48, No. 2.
  • St. Amour, M. J. (2003). Connecting childrens
    stories to childrens literature Meeting
    diversity needs. Early childhood journal, Vol.
    31, No.1.

References Continued
  •  Thomas, S., Vanderhaar. J. (2008). Negotiating
    resistance to multiculturalism in a teacher
    education curriculum A case study. The Teacher
    Educator, 43173-197.
  • Towell, J., Similan, C. (2009). Teaching
    literacy through the visual arts in a
    multicultural world. Journal of reading
    education, Vol. 35, No. 1.
  • Yoon, B., Simpson, A., Haag, C. (2010).
    Assimilation ideology Critically examining
    underlying messages in multicultural literature.
    Journal of Adolescents and Adult Literacy, 54(2),
    p. 109-118.

Index Suggested Books
  • Cha, D. (1996). Dias story cloth. New York Lee
    Low Books.
  • Choi, Y. (2003). The name jar. New York Random
  • De Varennes, M. (2007). The jewel box ballerinas.
    New York Random House.
  • Flake, S. (1998). The skin Im in. New York
  • Johnson, A. (2007). Lily Browns paintings. New
    York Scholastic.
  • Kissinger, K. (1997). All the colors we are. St.
    Paul, MN Readleaf Press.
  • Katz, K. (1999) The color of us. New York Henry
  • McKissack, P.C., Pinkney, J. (2001). Goin
    someplace special. New York Antheneum Books for
    Young Readers.

Index Suggested Books
  • Polacco, P. (1992). Mrs. Katz and Tush. New York
  • Winter J. (2004). The librarian of Basra A true
    story from Iraq. Orlando Harcourt, Inc.
  • Woodson, J. (2001). The other side. New York
  • (Ernst Mathis, 2007 Harper Brand, 2010
    Randencich, 1998 Smolen, Collins Still, 2008)

Parent Permission
  • Parents Permission
  • Dear Parents,
  • My name is Ramona Fabian I am currently
    completing my masters degree in education at
    Brooklyn College and am conducting a study on the
    effects of multicultural books on students
    reading level. I am requesting your permission to
    use your childs data for my research study. I
    will be using gathered data from their reading
    assessments. There will be running records to
    measure students reading levels.
  • All results for this study will be reported as a
    group study therefore, participants names and
    information will be anonymous.
  • Thank you for your support!
  • Sincerely, Ramona Fabian
  • _ I allow my child to be observed in this study.
  • _ I do not allow my child to be observed in this
  • Parents Signature

Teacher Permission
  • Dear Teachers,
  • My name is Ramona Fabian and I am a Brooklyn
    College graduate student. I am completing my
    Early Action Research Project throughout this
    school year on the effects of multicultural books
    on students reading level and the effects of
    pre-serviced multicultural teachers have on said
    levels. I would greatly appreciate your
    permission to observe your class in my research
    by completing multicultural survey for
    pre-service teachers and allow me to use running
    records on the students. All information will be
    kept confidential and anonymous. Please sign and
    return the bottom portion of this letter stating
    whether you would or would not like you class to
    be used in this research. Thank you for your time
    and consideration.
  • Sincerely,
  • Ramona Fabian
  • _ I allow my class to be observed in this Early
    Action Research Project
  • _ I do not allow my class to be observed in this
    Early Action Research Project
  • Teacher Signature 

Teacher Survey
  • Multicultural Survey for Pre-service Teachers
  • Please respond freely and anonymously to these
    open-ended statements.
  • 1- I am (prepared) (not prepared) to teach
    reading and language arts to students from
    diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds
  • 2- The following kinds of literacy-learning
    experiences are especially helpful to students
    from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds
  • 3- I have participated in (Write a
    number) filed experiences where I worked with
    students from diverse cultural and/or linguistic
  • 4- I have participated in (Write a
    number) university related community experiences
    where I worked with students from diverse
    cultural and/or linguistic backgrounds.
  • 5- I need the following experiences to help
    prepare me to work with students from diverse
    cultural and linguistic backgrounds
  •  6- The following literature is especially
    relevant for students of diverse cultural and
    linguistic backgrounds because.
  • 7

Teacher Survey Continued
  • 7- I am familiar with the work of the following
    scholars who write about multicultural issues
  • 8- The following writing activities are
    especially beneficial for students who speak
    variations of English because.
  • 9- Name of your college /university 
  • Please write your comments below. How do you
    think that we, as literacy teacher educators, can
    enhance our abilities to meet the literacy
    learning needs of students from diverse cultural
    and linguistic backgrounds?