The effects of using rap music on the fluency skills of 2nd grade African American students

Cynthia Moredock Januszka, Florida International University


A concern for both educators and policy makers is how to increase the reading achievement of African American students. Studies have shown that rap music, which has its roots in the African American community, can be used as a tool to facilitate this increase, specifically how using rap songs in reading lessons can improve a child's reading motivation, information recall, and vocabulary development. There are also studies on how repeated reading of a text can help improve a child's reading fluency. Yet, there are no studies that combine rap music and repeated reading of a text. This study describes the effects of using a culturally responsive reading strategy on the fluency, decoding, and comprehension skills of African American students. The sample consisted of 105 African American students within eight, second grade classrooms at two different elementary schools. The classes were randomly selected and assigned to the rap group or the control group. Students received eight half-hour sessions using either a rap text or a traditional text in a repeated reading lesson. All of the students were pre-tested and post-tested on the Oral Reading Fluency and the Nonsense Word Fluency portions of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills Test. Additionally, a researcher constructed comprehension quiz was given to the students at the beginning, middle, and end of the study. Research questions were analyzed using ANOVAs and t tests. The hypotheses were not supported but there was some evidence that rap music in a reading lesson helped improve the fluency skills of African American students at one of the schools. The results also revealed that rap music used in a reading lesson initially improved the comprehension skills of African American students. The rap treatment may not have worked best overall because of the lack of intensity of the treatment. The study has shown some evidence to support using culturally appropriate materials such as rap with students. There needs to be more research on the interaction between teaching methods, materials, and students.

Subject Area

Black studies|Elementary education|Reading instruction|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Januszka, Cynthia Moredock, "The effects of using rap music on the fluency skills of 2nd grade African American students" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3343270.