Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

James King, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Linda Evans, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan Homan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Shircliffe, Ph.D


Sociocultural, Gender, Culture, Masculunity, Critical literacy


The purpose of this study was to uncover the perspectives that pertain to the literacy experiences of young Hispanic boys. Hispanic boys will be asked to describe, feel, judge, and make sense of their public and private literacies (Faulkner, 2005). This phenomenological study embraces two methods of data collection, participant focus groups and individual interviews. The primary question guiding this inquiry was: What are the perceptions of adolescent Hispanic boys who are considered low level readers (by state achievement tests) regarding their literacy experiences?

In order to help provide background information and set the stage for future work when considering this specific population other supporting questions were added. These include: 1.) What have researchers reported about Hispanic boys in literacy situations? 2.) What is the role of masculinity (machismo) in the literacy lives of Hispanic boys? 3.) What teaching methods do Hispanic boys consider most responsive to their literacy needs? and 4.) What role can critical literacy play in educating this marginalized population? After sorting and analyzing all data sources, the themes that evolved as considered most relevant by this group of Hispanic boys were: a). Family, b). Language: its role of language in building identity, c). Machismo: to include male discourse when dealing with gangs and violence, e). Education - public literacy, e). Literacy: reading, writing, and f). Moral Literacy. Several major implications of the study include: (a) strong value for their cultural identity, (b) disconnect from their educational settings, (c) could self-prescribe their personal educational needs, (d) lacked institutional knowledge, and (e) had the potential to rebuild their identity. It is imperative that we listen to the voices of this marginalized population in order to gain insight to how Hispanic boys live public and private literacies (Faulkner, 2005) in the hope that our educational system can respond to their personal and academic needs.