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ERIC Number: EJ1156747
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Nov
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0922-4777
The Effects of Dialect Awareness Instruction on Nonmainstream American English Speakers
Johnson, Lakeisha; Terry, Nicole Patton; Connor, Carol McDonald; Thomas-Tate, Shurita
Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, v30 n9 p2009-2038 Nov 2017
The achievement gaps between poor and more affluent students are persistent and chronic, as many students living in poverty are also members of more isolated communities where dialects such as African American English and Southern Vernacular English are often spoken. Non-mainstream dialect use is associated with weaker literacy achievement. The principal aims of the two experiments described in this paper were to examine whether second through fourth graders, who use home English in contexts where more formal school English is expected, can be taught to dialect shift between home and school English depending on context; and whether this leads to stronger writing and literacy outcomes. The results of two randomized controlled trials with students within classrooms randomly assigned to DAWS (Dialect Awareness, a program to explicitly teach dialect shifting), editing instruction, or a business as usual group revealed (1) that DAWS was more effective in promoting dialect shifting than instruction that did not explicitly contrast home and school English; and (2) that students in both studies who participated in DAWS were significantly more likely to use school English in contexts where it was expected on proximal and distal outcomes including narrative writing, morphosyntactic awareness, and reading comprehension. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305F100027
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Meets Evidence Standards without Reservations