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Laura Marie

Donna Alverman

3 min read

Alverman discusses how culture has a large affect in childrens ability to read and comprehend andhow to help these struggling readers by looking at adoloscents and focusing on three approaches: the deprivation approach, the difference approach and the culture-as-disability approach.  She focuses on culture, identity and struggling-reader and how these three concepts need to be understood and handled correctly by teachers and other professionals because they are all intertwined and influence one another.  The deprivation approach which was about keeping a student at the level that standardized testing out them at without giving that student supplemental instruction to help them grow, keeps them down at that lower level of education and makes them unable to grow at a rate that if they were challenged or given tutoring they could surpass.The Difference approach talks about the way that students develop has literate beings depends on the culture they are surrounded with so what will work for student's in one culture may not work for those in another and she also states that by focusing on each groups strengths as a reader instead of their weaknesses can help them grow their skills. The last approach- culture-as-disability means that all cultures teach people how to succed and ultimately decides wo doesn't so everyone is grouped into this "culture" which does not individualize their approaches in helping students with different abilities and weaknesses so many students fall behind.

 I found her case study on Grady, a ninth grader who read at a fifth grade level very interesting.  He was involved in an after school media study that she was putting on and he did not respond well to it at first.  He did not want to participate in the group activities and just wanted to play Metal Gear, bu he wouldn't respond to reading when they tried to get him to.  Finally he got into the Pokemon video game and began to participate in emails with Alverman and her other collegues and read the Pokemon guides.  She noticed that she was using the same methods that she was trying to kepp others from doing- the deprovation and difference approaches- and then suggested ways to help other students like Grady grow in this cultural driven system.

I think it is true that culture has a big part in learning abilities and disabilities, especially in the "No Child Left Behind Era" of standardized testing where students in more impoverished areas without the same access to materials that other school systems may have.  Students who do not score well on these tests are then labeled as "struggling" or "learning disabled" and then either pushed into special education classes or coninue to fall behind instead of finding other ways to help these children learn in the cultures and communites that they are dealt.