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ERIC Number: ED047297
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Nov-19
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Literacy in the Vernacular: The Navajo Reading Study.
Spolsky, Bernard
This paper notes the tendency among non-literate peoples such as the American Indians to lose their native language as the demands of modern technology increasingly push them towards literacy in a language which is not their own, and argues that literacy in the vernacular language may present such acculturation and language loss from going hand in hand. Relating this to the Navajo Indians, the author shows that, despite the relative ineffectiveness of English teaching programs, Navajo is steadily declining. Thus, although the resent Navajo Reading Study indicates that it is still the main language of Navajo-populated areas, Navajo continues to decline as more roads are built, as more children complete school, and as the Reservation is increasingly exposed to the outside world. The author feels that the achievement of literacy in Navajo might prevent this shift to English. He believes that present programs directed at Navajo literacy may have a better chance than past ones because of the growing realization that teaching reading is easier in a child's strongest language as well as because of the community school movement, which includes the teaching of reading in Navajo as part of its program for community control of Navajo schools. (FWB)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper read at the Council on Anthropology and Education Symposium on Cognitive and Linguistic Studies, 69th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Diego, California, November 19, 1970