An ethnographic study of interactional factors affecting access of black kindergarten students to participation structures and reading information

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This study examined factors related to how the interactive behaviors of a group of Black kindergarten children, as demonstrated within the social organization of the classroom, may be related to reading readiness achievement outcomes. Cultural differences in language use, the demands for cooperation in mainstream schools, and established patterns of social interaction were examined as reasons for differential outcomes among blacks. Verbal and non-verbal forms of expression and social interactions, as displayed by students and teacher in the classroom, are related to whether students gain access to participation structures and, therefore, learning opportunities. In this ethnographic study participant observation was the method used to collect data.

In the research classroom, linguistic form was not a factor in gaining access to participation strucures. This study suggests, however, that access to reading information was limited to competent students who complied with social and academic demands to gain access to participation structures operating in crucial lesson segments and, therefore, learning opportunities.