Teaching Literacy to Native American Students
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
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The average reading scores for 4th grade Native American students consistently fall below the reading scores of their peers from other races and ethnicities. This deficit reflects a potential weakness in the ability of the education system in the United States to provide culturally responsive literacy education to Native American students and remains a critical issue that must be addressed. This begins by adequately preparing teachers to educate Native American students in a culturally and linguistically responsive manner. The goal of this study was to interview teachers regarding their preservice cultural training. And also investigate their ability to implement appropriate strategies in the classroom in order to provide culturally responsive literacy education to their Native American students. Teachers were questioned using an online survey of multiple choice and open-ended questions regarding how knowledgeable they consider themselves regarding Native American culture, the extent that they implement and incorporate Native American culture and language into the classroom and instruction, and how important they consider culturally-linguistically relevant literacy intervention. Results of this study indicated that teachers do not believe that their pre-service training provided adequate preparation to teach Native American students. However, teachers reported strategies they have developed in order to effectively teach their Native American students. This information was useful in exploring the level of preparation that teachers receive before administering literacy instruction to Native American students, their current understanding of Native American cultures and languages, and specific culturally-linguistically responsive methods of teaching these teachers have implemented in the classroom.