Comparing Reading Programs

In: Social Issues

Submitted By elpingu
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Evaluating Reading Programs

African-American (AA) and English Language Learners (ELL) students are groups that traditionally suffer in standard reading and English classrooms. A 1965 Harlem study cited by William Labov (Labov, Can reading failure be reversed pg. 40, laay ) contrasts two groups of students: one group that is not affiliated with street culture and one group that is. The findings are startling. AA students that did not associate with “street” groups on average read two grade-levels below students. This figure is alarming but nonetheless, two grade-levels can be remediated with the right intervention. However, the group that associated with “street” groups persisted to stall at an average plateau of a 4.9 grade reading level. A plateau indicates a systemic failure to address the underlying issue of instruction. The times have changed but the fact that AA and ELL youth are not being served has remained constant. One would (like to) believe that non-responsive students are wholly neglected, however, often times it is not a negligence in intervention, but a lack of appropriate reading curriculum/tools that creates the dire situation that underperforming students are in. AA and ELL students pose an educational challenge because they already possess language structures that vary from standard academic English in grammar, phonics, and cultural experience. The Ann Arbor decision reaffirms that although different, African American Vernacular (AAVE), is not mangled or fragmented Standard Academic English (SAE). According to Judge Joiner who presided over the Ann Arbor case AAVE is a “distinct linguistic system but that it is not a foreign language.” Furthermore, AAVE has many features of southern US dialects..” and “it has distinct marks of an Afro-Caribbean ancestry reflecting the earlier origins of the Black community.” (pg 151 recognizing black English in…...

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