Article Title

Bringing Literacy Education into the Ring: My Reflections Conducting a Service-Learning Project at a Youth Boxing Program


While COVID-19 created challenges in the majority of academic spheres worldwide, certain marginalized communities with pre-existing challenges suffered grave educational hardships. Through EDCI 590, I partnered with the Downtown Boxing Gym (DBG), a community-based youth development program in Detroit, MI, to learn how to provide culturally- and developmentally-relevant literacy assessments to the largely economically marginalized Black and Latinx students at DBG. In order to do this, along with other Purdue undergraduate and graduate students, I became familiar with the challenges of providing developmentally appropriate assessments for students who had been under-prepared in literacy by their local schools, learned how to conduct effective assessments for such students, and eventually conducted them virtually with multiple students from the gym. Afterwards, we were challenged to develop and present to DBG staff individualized literacy plans for the students we assessed.

The students that were serviced were able to have an assessment experience that was culturally and developmentally relevant to them while also being informative about their literacy background, needs, and interests. After writing a detailed summary of the students’ assessment results, we were tasked to find and recommend culturally and developmentally relevant literature either written by or featuring individuals of color that were purchased for the students to further encourage their literacy development. Not only did this course service many students at DBG, but it also allowed me to experience something that I feel I never would have gotten from the predetermined curriculum requirements in my Teacher Education program. Through this course I got to witness the ways that community-based educational spaces can support educational equity for economically-marginalized students of color. This experience opened my eyes to problems and solutions I feel will be vital for me as a preservice teacher and eventually a classroom teacher to continue to grow in my awareness.



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