Effective Writing Instruction for African American English

  • Crystal Glover University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Urban students who speak African American English (AAE) are at an academic disadvantage when their linguistic abilities are undervalued and underappreciated. When urban teachers of writing lack knowledge of the oral and written features of AAE, they are likely to overlook the strong ties that exist between their students’ home language and cultural identity (Dyson & Smitherman, 2009). Teachers of writing in urban schools must acknowledge students’ home language and help students make connections between the features of AAE and Standard American English. Strategies for improving the literacy performance of AAE speakers include professional development for teachers, contrastive analysis, flexible communication, and explicit instruction on code switching.