Black woman

How to support Black learners in your literacy program

Setting Black learners up for success starts with developing a positive sense of community. Below, we’ll dive into more detail about how to best support this group of learners in your literacy program.

Create a positive community feeling

Recognize the contributions of diverse groups and spend time reflecting on the backgrounds and experiences of Black learners.

As a literacy practitioner, engage in practices that promote pride, history and heritage. Black History Month is an opportunity to feature a curriculum that outlines the great diversity and contributions among Black people, but be sure to continue to incorporate related resources throughout the year.

Providing students with positive messages about their race can help them be more successful in learning. When they feel a positive sense of connection at their educational institute, they’re more likely to have even greater academic success up to two years later.

Support their goals

When completing onboarding assessments with new Black learners, ensure you understand their educational goals, strengths and needs. Take the time to learn about their unique aspirations and perspectives.

Take the time to learn and understand the intersections of challenges that Black students face, in and outside the classroom, that can have substantial effects on their learning outcomes. Practitioners and educators who use an intersectional lens tend to have a better understanding of how to support students.

Once the literacy program begins, check in with them occasionally and encourage their voice in lessons. Create structures and practices adaptable to their needs so they’re interested in continuous engagement.

Engaging student voice helps strengthen leadership, academic achievement, and social and emotional health. Use learners’ feedback to address program curriculum and organizational concerns whenever possible.

Build meaningful partnerships

Develop partnerships built on mutual respect and always view Black learners as equal partners. If you find there are biases among your organization’s leadership, address them promptly through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training in order to create a trusting environment that benefits all learners.

Improve diversity amongst your literacy practitioners to improve learner outcomes, such as better test scores, higher teacher expectations, and an increased sense of civic engagement. Use evidence-based recruiting, hiring and retention strategies to create and sustain an inclusive workforce.

Research shows that Black students with Black teachers are more likely to experience remarkable educational achievements than those taught by educators of a different race.

The takeaway 

Taking the time to create a positive community feeling, supporting learners’ goals, and building meaningful partnerships can bring immense achievement to Black learners. For assistance with developing a literacy program for your learners, check out our numerous free programs and initiatives.