Title Thumbnail

Affirming Black Students’ Lives and Literacies

Bearing Witness

Arlette Ingram Willis Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon Patriann Smith Theresa Perry

208 pages
Teachers College Press

Drawing on the authors’ experiences as Black parents, researchers, teachers, and teacher educators, this timely book presents a multipronged approach to affirming Black lives and literacies. The authors believe change is needed—not within Black children, but in the way they are perceived and educated, particularly in reading, writing, and critical thinking across grade levels. To inform literacy teachers and school leaders, the authors provide a conceptual framework for reimagining literacy instruction based on Black philosophical and theoretical foundations, historical background, literacy research, and authentic experiences of Black students. This important book includes counternarratives about the lives of Black learners; research conducted by Black scholars among Black students; examples of approaches to literacy with Black children that are making a difference; conversations among literacy researchers that move beyond academia; and a model for engaging all students in literacy. Affirming Black Students’ Lives and Literacies advocates for adopting a standard of care that will improve and support literacy achievement among today’s Black students by rejecting deficit presumptions and embracing the fullness of these students’ strengths.

Book Features:

  • A counternarrative of Black literacy history, lives, and learners.  
  • Narrative examples of Black literacy scholarship, by Black scholars who embrace their faith-walk as an integral part of their holistic approach to literacy teaching and learning.
  • Discussion questions to spur conversations among school administrators, parents/caregivers, politicians, reading researchers, teacher educators, and classroom teachers. 
  • An array of extant Black scholarship that should inform literacy praxis and research. 
  • A conceptual framework, CARE, that is applicable for all learners with a focus on Black literacy learners.
Author Bio

Arlette Ingram Willis is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, division of Language and Literacy. Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon is professor of literacy and chair of the Department of Reading & Language Arts at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Patriann Smith is an associate professor of literacy studies at the University of South Florida.