Faculty Publications

Headwoman’s Blues: Small Group Reading and the Interaction of Culture, Gender, and Ability

Document Type

Book Chapter

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice

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The Iroquois role of headwoman was replicated not only to provide the children with an abstract experience of Iroquois leadership, but also to reinforce primary classroom values through an experience guided by Iroquois principles of gendered leadership. This chapter adopts cultural theorist Albert Murray's concept of the 'blues idiom' as a theoretical lens through which to make sense of literacy instruction in a multiply diverse classroom context. It attempts to expand on recent trends and supplement traditional limitations by looking at interactions among the factors of culture, gender, and teacher practice, and their impact on small group literacy instruction. The chapter demonstrates how factors of ability, culture, and gender interact dynamically to effect an impact on student literacy experiences in small group instruction. It also attempts to convey the idea that a reading group, particularly one of culturally diverse students, really is a crossroads of educational and cultural influences and implications.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

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DOI of published version