According to Iruka, the results clearly suggest that some African American boys experience challenges to their academic achievement and social skills as they move into to kindergarten.
"In addition, the two groups of early achievers is especially revealing about the importance of effective parenting," she said. "African American boys from homes where mothers frequently engaged in literacy activities and intentional teachingand other activities like playing games and taking the child on errandswere likely to be in the high achieving groups."
Iruka's study also showed that parent-child interactions influence whether a high-achieving African American boy stays on course.
"It's important to note that the early achievers who declined academically and socially were more likely to be from homes in which the parents were inattentive," she said. "The group of boys with detached parents showed a significant decrease in their reading and math scores and an increase in aggression during the preschool-to-kindergarten transition."
According to Iruka, these results fit well with other research that has shown how important it is for all children across socioeconomic lines to receive responsive parenting that is enriching and cognitively stimulating. Because of the importance of parenting, Iruka and her co-authors recommend involving parents in academic and social support for children throughout the transition from preschool to kindergarten.
"We believe this time of change requires families and teachers to work together," she said. "Not only can such partnerships help to ensure the best academic and social outcomes for gifted African American boysthey can make a differen
|Contact: Dave Shaw|
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute