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Literacy Instruction for African American Students Critical Essay


In her article on literacy instruction among African American students, Glover stresses that the language issues, particularly the active use of African American English (AAE), are the reason for a concern and for even more trouble with studying, particularly, literacy acquisition.

Since “public schools across America are failing to meet the literacy needs of students of color” (Glover, 2012, p. 23), the time comes to reconsider the standards for literacy enhancement among African American students and come up with a new model for language literacy instruction.

To provide further avenues of addressing the problem in question, Glover isolates the facts that hinder literacy instruction among African American students and suggests the means to eliminate these factors. Glover also provides a peculiar definition of the AAE: “AAE is a systematic, rule-bound, syntactic speech system that promotes cultural unity among its speakers” (Glover, 2012, p. 24).

In addition, the author makes an impressive overview of the history of the AAE, therefore, proving its legitimacy and independency as a dialect. The research results state that the process of literacy instruction is hindered to an impressive degree by the misunderstandings between teachers and students due to the language issues. To address the issue, Glover suggests such techniques as code switching, contrastive analysis and communicative flexibility training (Glover, 2012, 32).

The information provided in Glover’s article offers a lot of food for thoughts. Indeed, the representatives of the African American community, as well as national and ethnic minorities, face a number of issues in the learning process, particularly, during school classes and lectures, when they have to use code switching fast and efficiently in order to acquire the necessary information.

Therefore, Glover’s article will help teachers enhance the academic progress of African American students, as well as the students with different ethnic backgrounds. It is important that the instructions provided by Glover were created with understanding of the actual capabilities of students; for example, Glover stresses that splitting the students’ speech into categories when they are in their everyday (home) environment is a good idea, which is, nevertheless, practically impossible to implement (Glover 29).

More to the point, Glover defies the aforementioned approach its benefits, claiming that it will only confuse younger students. Thus, Glover’s recommendations can be considered adequate and applicable in a school setting.

The idea of using contrastive analysis is also going to be of much use in the school environment (Watson, 2013), since it will help students learn about the stages of their code switching process. Thus, knowing more about the cognitive processes that occur during code switching, the students will be able to speed the process up and improve it.

In the light of the facts mentioned above, it will be reasonable to suggest that the parents of the students should be instructed on how to teach their children to use the principles of code switching consciously. It is crucial that the given process should be controlled by the students; otherwise, they will not be able to apply it efficiently in their studying to improve their academic performance.

Another issue that the parents should be aware about concerns helping the students analyze their code switching process. It may be useful if some family members could encourage the students to experiment with the process of switching between the languages, from AAE to American English and back.

Reference List

Glover, C. (2013). Effective writing instruction for African American English speakers, Urban Education Research and Policy Annuals, 1(1), pp. 23–32.

Watson, M. (2013).Solutions for urban education reform: Are common core state standards the answer? A commentary. Urban Education Research and Policy Annuals, 1(1), pp. 9–11.

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IvyPanda. (2019, June 8). Literacy Instruction for African American Students. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/literacy-instruction-for-african-american-students/

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"Literacy Instruction for African American Students." IvyPanda, 8 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/literacy-instruction-for-african-american-students/.

1. IvyPanda. "Literacy Instruction for African American Students." June 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literacy-instruction-for-african-american-students/.


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IvyPanda. "Literacy Instruction for African American Students." June 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literacy-instruction-for-african-american-students/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Literacy Instruction for African American Students." June 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literacy-instruction-for-african-american-students/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Literacy Instruction for African American Students'. 8 June.

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