ERIC Number: ED205935
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Dialect Interference in the Attainment of Literacy--A Review of the Research.
Schwartz, Judith I.
It has been argued that nonstandard dialects interfere with the attainment of literacy. The proposition that black vernacular English (BVE) has a measurably significant effect on reading achievement has never been demonstrated, although it is a widely held belief. What studies do reveal is an equivocal relationship between dialect and achievement in reading. As for dialect interference in writing achievement, studies comparing the writing of BVE speakers and standard English speakers do not yield strong support for the dialect interference hypothesis. These studies do not look at the impact, if any, of BVE on the meaning encoded in the written symbols. Although negative teacher attitudes have been advanced as an explanation for the low achievement of many children who speak BVE, the intersection of the two sets of variables--the negative attitudes of many teachers toward nonstandard dialects and the low achievement of many children who speak nonstandard dialects such as BVE--has not yet been demonstrated. A cursory examination of dialect interference in literacy attainment reveals methodological weaknesses and thus questionable conclusions. Studies should be designed and implemented, therefore, that are empirically sound and produce well reasoned and unbiased evidence. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association (26th, New Orleans, LA, April 27-May 1, 1981).