Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Toby Jenkins-Henry


This paper describes an action research question focused on how explicit instruction in reading, coupled with culturally responsive teaching, can affect the confidence levels of African-American male ninth graders regarding their reading comprehension abilities. The research question seeks to illustrate the benefits of using explicit instruction in the context of materials seen as relevant by the student to unpack each step of the reading comprehension process thereby engaging students who otherwise view reading as a streamlined, passive process; it also uses teacher modeling to show how to increase reading comprehension, Also, classroom instruction on the secondary level makes use of statewide textbook adoptions and ancillary materials, and packaged English 1 End-of-Course preparation materials. Rather than explicitly teaching the skills of reading comprehension with engaging texts, teachers use racially biased, privileged White, middle class texts to present the steps of reading without modeling. The instruction necessary to navigate the texts are withheld from students who then experience challenges that result in lower confidence levels and disengagement from the curriculum. Focusing on confidence levels allows this study to provide direct and compelling evidence that teachers should make changes moving from implicit to explicit instruction while engaging students in reading and writing material that is meaningful and culturally relevant to them. The paper concludes with an evaluation of ethical considerations that may arise during the study.


© 2018, Wendy Harriford Platt