Foreword by: Josh Parker
Afterword by: Cornelius Minor
Publication Date: December 3, 2021
This book will help educators rethink their expectations of and practices for developing the literacy skills of Black boys in the elementary school classroom. Tatum shows educators how to bring students’ literacy development into greater focus by creating an early intellectual infrastructure of advanced literacy, knowledge, and personal development. He provides a strong conceptual frame, with associated instructional and curricular practices, designed to move Black boys from across the economic spectrum toward advanced literacy that aligns with the Black intellectual tradition. Readers will learn how to use texts from a broad range of potential professions, across academic disciplines, to nurture social and scientific consciousness. The text includes guidance for selecting texts, reading supports, prompts for analysis, and examples of student work. Teaching Black Boys in the Elementary Grades counters the current obsession with basic and proficient reading and argues for adopting an exponential growth model of literacy development.
Alfred W. Tatum is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Metropolitan State University of Denver and former dean (2013–2020) of the College of Education and professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he served as director of the UIC Reading Clinic for 14 years. He is known for his research, writing, and professional development in support of African American boys.
“Dr. Tatum once again takes us on a journey. A journey through mediocrity and into a space where advanced literacy instruction for African American males is where we start our conversations around equity.”
—From the Foreword by Josh Parker, instructional coach, educational blogger, and 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year
“Here is what we have always known: We cannot lead full lives if we are not literate. . . . The movement toward greater freedom must start in the classroom. Dr. Tatum has given us such a powerful book to catalyze that work.”
—From the Afterword by Cornelius Minor, author and educator
“Dr. Alfred Tatum has hit another home run. In Teaching Black Boys in the Elementary Grades, he shares his heart while making the world of Black boys transparent. The interplay between the words of his scholarly discussions and the lyrics of his poetry shows exceptional intellectual prowess. This is a must-read.”
—Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon, professor of literacy, Oakland University; president, Literacy Research Association
“We do not have a 'boy' crisis in education; we have instead unresponsive schooling that continues to fail to meet the urgent academic needs of particular boys. In this important book, Alfred Tatum has once again raised our consciousness about who these students are and has provided us practical insights needed, as he stresses, to refuse to allow Black boys to be underserved.”
—William G. Brozo, emeritus professor of literacy, George Mason University
“In this book, Tatum shows us why he is the leading expert in the research of the literacy of African American boys. The literate lives that African American boys lead are complex, and the examination of those lives is just as complex. Tatum's analysis of the lives of African American boys leads his readers through the historical and contemporary research perspectives, the social and political realms, and the connection of Black boys' lives to instructional practices in schools. He accompanies us on this analytic journey and emphasizes the importance of inspiring Black boys in the early grades to access all texts available to them.”
—Aaron M. Johnson, author; partner and equity leadership coach, The Equity Collaborative