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ERIC Number: ED546346
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 192
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2676-2038-5
African-American English and Reading Achievement: The Relationships among Dialect Awareness, Dialect Shifting and Reading Development
Sajous-Brady, Daphne Lucienne
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northwestern University
When children begin to connect spoken speech to print, regardless of their language, they all encounter disparities between oral and written representations. Children who speak the African-American English (AAE) dialect at home and in their communities may encounter an even greater number of disparities between oral and written representations than those whose home dialect is Standard-American English (SAE), the dialect of school curriculum. The additional burden of handling disparities between dialects has been hypothesized to be a cause of reading challenges faced by AAE-speakers. Two studies were designed to further examine the relationships among AAE, SAE, and reading development. Tasks were developed to assess AAE-speakers' ability to recognize and use contrastive morphosyntactic differences between both dialects across various literacy tasks as well as their ability to dialect shift in sentence imitation tasks in both SAE and AAE. The participants were African-American third and fourth graders living in an urban, low-income Midwestern U.S. community. In the first study, the children's ability to adhere to either AAE or SAE across various oral and written tasks was evaluated against their performance on selected literacy measures. Results indicated that the ability to differentiate linguistic features that apply to AAE and SAE, as measured by oral and written language production, was a marker of reading achievement. Demonstrating oral proficiency in "either" or "both" dialects was related to better performance on various reading and writing measures. The second study examined whether sensitivity to morphosyntactic contrastive differences between SAE and AAE could be linked to reading comprehension skills, and results indicated that an awareness of and the ability to produce contrastive morphosyntactic features between the two dialects, both in oral and written form, was related not only to reading comprehension, but also to phonological awareness, oral reading accuracy, single word reading, and vocabulary scores. These results provide support for including opportunities, at home and school, for AAE-speakers to expand and develop strength in AAE, while also learning SAE. Further, results suggest that instruction targeted at increasing AAE-speakers' awareness of the linguistic differences between SAE and AAE may improve their reading skills. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A