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Grammar that Can Help Students

Book citation: Grammar Alive! A Guide for Teachers By Brock Haussamen (2003)

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Students acquire grammar as they acquire language, so teaching grammar actually means teaching about grammar. Teaching grammar also means teaching students the patterns of School English that they will need to read and write in school. This book helps the language arts teacher teach students to understand how language works. Meanwhile, traditional grammar lessons focus on errors and do not ultimately help students with reading and writing.

Teaching School English

Book citation: Code-Switching: Teaching Standard English in Urban Classrooms By Rebecca Wheeler and Rachel Swords (2006)

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Co-authored by a teacher and a school research scientist, this book could be very helpful to the elementary school teacher. The authors outline detailed lesson plans on contrastive analysis, a highly recommended method for teaching School English.

The Latest Resource on Language Variation in the Classroom: A Preview

Book tentative title: Whose Words: An Educator's Guide to English Language Variation in the Classroom By Anne Charity Hudley & Christine Mallinson

Summary by the authors, Charity Hudley & Mallinson:

"Whose Words: An Educator's Guide to English Language Variation in the Classroom is intended for practitioners and general readers who come into contact with vernacular dialect speakers or for those simply curious about language variation. It targets in particular those who have not had much exposure to accurate information about language variation. Whose Words will be essential for educators who are working with young learners from non-Standard English speaking backgrounds."

Summer Workshop for Educators Being Offered At VCU

Course: Language Variation in the Classroom: An Educator’s Toolkit
Post by Christine Mallinson, Anne Charity Hudley, and Hannah Askin

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This summer, the VCU Division of Community Engagement Summer Workshop Series is offering a special opportunity for teachers and other educators to learn about language variation. Dr. Anne Harper Charity Hudley, a professor at the College of William and Mary, and Dr. Christine Mallinson, a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, along with teaching assistant Hannah Askin, will lead a week-long summer workshop called “Language Variation in the Classroom: An Educator’s Toolkit.”

Helping Students Improve Their Writing, Part 2

Book citation: Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing By Mina Shaughnessy (1977)

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This entry discusses how the book examines student writing errors in punctuation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. See Part 1 of this entry for information on the bigger picture with regards to students' writing difficulties.

Helping Students Improve Their Writing, Part 1

Book citation: Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing By Mina Shaughnessy (1977)

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Errors and Expectations helps the writing teacher improve students' writing more effectively. The author, a college instructor, finds patterns in the writing errors of her students, and the reason behind them. Most teachers learn to correct misspellings and informal grammar and usage as random errors. Understandably, teachers may then be frustrated when this method seems to have little effect on students' writing. The alternative posed in this book allows teachers to help students learn from their mistakes. As the author explains, most student writing errors are not in fact random, but follow certain patterns.

Dialect Discrimination

Book citation: English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States By Rosina Lippi-Green (1997)

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This book gives a comprehensive and accessible picture of dialect discrimination, without requiring technical linguistic knowledge to understand. Instead, clear descriptions and illustrative examples, including many from the media, help guide lay readers through linguistic issues that may be relevant to them. For instance, Part 1 of the book is a great resource for readers who want to find out about the general ideas behind langauge attitudes.

Teaching Standard English to Students who Speak African American English

Book citation: The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language, and the Education of African American Children Ed. by Theresa Perry and Lisa Delpit (1998)

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This book discusses African American English in the classroom, and in particular the teaching strategies used by the California Standard English Proficiency program (SEP).

Assessing Students who Speak African American English

Book citation: Malik Goes to School: Examining the Language Skills of African American Students from Preschool—5th Grade By Holly K. Craig and Julie A. Washington (2005)

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This book describes a recommended and researched method for evaluating the language skills of students who speak African American English (AAE). The authors have based this evaluation method on research they conducted focusing on the speech of more than 1,000 AAE speakers in preschool and elementary school.

Teaching Dialect Diversity

Curriculum Citation: Voices of North Carolina: Language and Life from the Atlantic to the Appalachians By Jeff Reaser and Walt Wolfram (2007)

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Curriculum Purpose

The authors of Dialects in Schools and Communities advocate educational programs on “dialect awareness,” which aim to develop knowledge and respect for language variation and dialect diversity, as a way of reducing dialect discrimination. Dialect diversity is a necessary addition to teaching about diversity because we all encounter different types of speech on a daily basis.