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respecting other forms of English

eheller's picture

I really appreciated the Paris and Kirkland article "Urban Literacies." Their discussion of alternate forms of literacy as well as alternate froms of English resonated with me because of the students in my Praxis. The majority of them are African-American, and they speak a form of AAL, as described in the article. There is major difference between the way they speak and the way they are expected to write. Little respect is given for the home English that they speak. 

I liked the idea of using books written in AAL to show students that their language is valid and that literacy does not always have to be in standard English. However, my students are in third grade and the texts mentioned are much too advanced for them. I wish there were children's books written in AAL that could be used in elementary schools. I think this would help students bridge the divide between the language they speak and the language that they read in school. I also think using projects that involve alternate forms of literacy- for example, writing a story that inlcludes a text message conversation or doing a project using twitter, would open students eyes to what literacy and literature can be and would encourage them to "learn from vernacular literacies to push against the oral/written and digital/embodied dichotimies in ways that contemporary writing expects and demands" (190).