Practices of Literacy among African-American Families

It is necessary to remember that each and every culture has its own cultural and social practices.

It is necessary to consider the paradigms of social practice that aim to clarify the relationship between social practices and contexts. It is understood that in 2 ways, social practice takes place and that is investigation and activity. Social activities are primarily implemented in the realm of human development and include the creation of information. Social strategies in education include the dynamic use of contact between adults and children to promote growth in children. It is here that literacy activities are seen not only as significant foundations for the regeneration of a society, but also for lifelong learning. Literacy practices are a key are through which instructions are passed on from one generation to another through social identity and social language. This particular paper explores the practices, tenacities, as well as, the discourse of literacy practices that are family based and their connections with the African-American families.

The African-American Families

A majority of the African-American families are low-income families, thus, their children are usually faced with a higher risk of poor academic achievement when compared to the children that come from white families which are usually either middle class or upper class and this is mainly in the literacy domain (Blachman, Benita A., et al, Pp. 1-18). It is acknowledged that there are lifelong consequences of failing to become literate, for example, intergenerational illiteracy, underemployment, and unemployment.

It is true to state that the family literacy practices are some of the factors that influence a child's interest in literate behavior. However, these literacy practices vary depending on the contextual, as well as, the cultural variables of each and every family. Some of the literacy practices that have been evidenced to have a positive impact on early literacy among children include parents acting as literacy role models and parent-child book reading and these practices are common among the middle and the upper-class families. There is a clear indication that the literacy skills among the African-American children who mainly come from low-income families have been compromised by the literacy practices of African American families.

Family literacy is a social-cultural practice that occurs between the members of a family and acts to promote literacy development, as well as, its use. It can be established that simple literacy practices such as having a large number of books in the house are a literacy practice that influences the literacy development of a child (Bradley and Robert, et al 2001, Pp. 1844-1867). It is important to note that this is not a common practice among the African American families as a majority of them even lack home libraries. As mentioned earlier, parent-child book reading is another important literacy practice that positively influences the literacy development of a child. A majority of African American families do not have such and this can be attributed to the fact that a majority of them are single parent families with the single parent having to work long hours so as to meet the financial needs of the family, thus, may lack the time to be close to the children. The other major factor is intergenerational illiteracy. In the early years, only a few African Americans achieved academic success due to a combination of factors, for example, racial discrimination, arrogance, and drugs and substance abuse. Therefore, the African American families lacked literacy role models that the children could look up to and this over a long period of time affected the literacy development of children in African American families.


The family literacy practices play a major role in influencing the literacy development of children. However, these family literacy practices are influenced by various contextual and cultural factors. Above are discussed some of the literacy practices that lack in a majority of the African American families and how they have over the time affected the literacy development of the children in those families.

Works Cited

Blachman, Benita A., et al. "Kindergarten teachers develop phoneme awareness in low-income, inner-city classrooms." Reading and Writing 6.1 (1994): 1-18.

Bradley, Robert H., et al. "The home environments of children in the United States part I: Variations by age, ethnicity, and poverty status." Child development 72.6 (2001): 1844-1867.

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