Thursday, June 21, 2012

Black Dialect and Reading

Question: Does children’s black dialect interfere with the students’ learning to read?

 Answer/Quote: “Black children as a group are not learning to read as well as their white counterparts…. A mismatch between their language and the language of the materials used in school to teach reading….. this study is concerned with the grammatical mismatch only, not the phonological mismatch. It follows from this line of reasoning that reducing or eliminating this mismatch will reduce a reading interference and result in improved reading performance…. [Solutions:] Eliminate Black Dialect and replace it with Standard English to the use of reading materials written in dialect.” Pp. 339-340.

Quote: “Future research should turn to the analysis of the instructional process in the classroom and the complicated interaction between Black Dialect speaking children and teaching procedures, teachers’ attitudes, and the materials used for teaching reading.” P. 357.

Comment: In effect, this research rules out the mismatch between standard grammar and Black-dialect speaking children as interfering with learning to read. It suggests that the process of teaching reading is the problem, from teachers’ methods, attitudes and use of materials. One problem eliminated. A whole new set of instructional problems revealed. RayS.

Title: “Black English Syntax and Reading Interference.” HD Simons and KR Johnson. Research in the Teaching of English (Winter 1974), 339-358.

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