School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Angela Ford


instructional teaching practices, low-socioeconomic status, reading motivation, academic achievement, African American, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this case study was to explore Caucasian teachers’ and African American students’ perceptions of factors that motivate low-socioeconomic African American students to read within the southern region of West Virginia. The theories guiding this study were the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1980) and the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991). This study details the literature on the achievement gap in reading between African American students and students of other races, as well as teachers’ and students’ perceptions of instructional and motivational practices that influence reading development. African American students from lower economic backgrounds are being left behind in the classroom. In order for these students to make continuous academic improvements, a strong emphasis must be placed on their autonomy, competency levels, and attitudes towards reading. The central research question that guided this study focused on how teachers can cultivate a culturally responsive reading environment to support low-socioeconomic African American students. Approximately 7 teachers and 5 students participated in the study. The students who participated in this study were low-socioeconomic African American students from second through fifth grade, and the teachers who participated in this study were Caucasian and teach from second through fifth grade. A purposeful, homogenous sampling technique was used to select the participants. The methods used for this case study included documentation, interviews, and focus group. The five-step process of compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding the data was used for data analysis. Curriculum and teaching, culture, stereotypes, supportive teaching, support systems, and influences were the six identified themes.