This Book or That Book? A Book Selection Study, Book Selection Checklist, and How Educators Can Select Books That Engage Young Readers of Color and Possibly Improve Reading Achievement

Beth Kara Dawkins


This study examined book selection strategies of young African American and Latino readers from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, with the intent of uncovering the content of books these students find interesting and engaging. Students’ book selections may indicate the book content young readers find interesting; and numerous studies indicate that reading interest is connected to reading engagement, reading amount and reading achievement (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000). As national achievement data show, African American and Latino students, and individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are scoring below level in reading (NAEP, 2009; 2011), and the ultimate goal of this inquiry is to gain insight towards improving literacy achievement and closing the reading achievement gap for these students. A mixed-methods study- qualitative and quantitative- was conducted with 160 kindergarten students from a school district in the Southern region of the United States, and informing the study is a prior international experience in the country of Albania, Eastern Europe. Results indicated that students select books that contain well-developed story content as well as culturally-relevant content, and emerging from the study is a book selection checklist that educators can use to select quality literature for young readers.

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International Research in Higher Education  ISSN 2380-9183 (Print)  ISSN 2380-9205 (Online)

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