Print Materials for Educators

Curricula Integrated with Linguistic and Cultural Instruction

Walt Wolfram, Carolyn Temple Adger. Handbook on Language Differences and Speech and Language Pathology: Baltimore City Public Schools. (1993). Center for Applied Linguistics: Washington, DC.
  • Wolfram and Adger’s (1993) handbook for educators and speech language pathologists provides strategies and additional considerations for students who speak non-standard language varieties and receive speech language pathology services. Special emphasis is given to features and strategies to benefit speakers of African American English.

Craig, H.K. & Washington, J.A. (2006). //Malik Goes to School: Examining the Language Skills// of African American Students from Preschool-5th Grade. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Craig and Washington report their research on issues in education experienced by African American students and provide a comprehensive description of the features and characteristics of African American English.

Reaser, Jeffrey, and Walt Wolfram. (2007). Voices of North Carolina: Language and Life from the Atlantic to the Appalachians (second edition). Teachers manual, student workbook, and resource DVDs.
  • Wolfram and Reaser’s (2007) Voices of North Carolina dialect awareness curriculum provides teacher and student supplements to a same-titled documentary on language variation and diversity in the North Carolina region. While it is designed for the North Carolina eighth grade curriculum, it is useful for anyone interested in teaching or learning about language variation.

Reaser, Jeffrey, and Carolyn Temple Adger. (2007). Developing Language Awareness Materials for Non-Linguists: Lessons Learned from the Do You Speak American? Project. Language and Linguistic Compass, 1.3: 155-167.
  • Reaser and Adger’s experience gained while working on the Do You Speak American? Project allow for them to provide insightful strategies into the process of creating instructional materials that communicate linguistic knowledge to non-linguists. This insight is particularly useful in the creation of materials to bridge the knowledge gap between linguistics and education to inform instruction and teacher preparation.

Adger, C. T., Wolfram, W., & Christian, D. (Eds.). (2007). Dialects in schools and communities. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • This guide explains the variations in American English and the societal and educational challenges faced by students who speak a “dialect.” It provides helpful information to assist educators and specialists in improving the educational experience for diverse students.

Labov, Dickson, Charity Hudley, and Thorsnes (2009). Portals to Reading. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Portals is a reading intervention program for students in grades 4 to 8 with. Portals have been designed to meet the requirements for linguistically inclusive materials in the State of California and included versions for non-Standardized English speakers and English language learners.

Contrastive Analysis Approaches

Wheeler, R., & Swords, R. (2006). Code-switching: Teaching Standard English in urban classrooms. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
  • Wheeler and Swords use a contrastive analysis approach to objectively compare and contrast features of standard and non-standard language varieties in the classroom. This approach involves explicit instruction, modifying error analysis, and the promoting students’ ability to “code-switch.”

Brown. (2009). In Other Words.
  • Brown presents lessons designed to help students discover contrasts to forms in non- standardized varieties of English and Standardized English speaking and writing conventions designed for a grade 8-12 audience.

Materials to Aid Vernacular Communities

Baugh, J. (2000). Educational Malpractice and the Miseducation of Language Minority Students. In J. K. Hall, & W. G. Eggington (Eds.), //The Sociopolitics of English Language Teaching// (pp. 104-116). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.
  • Baugh’s section of the book discusses the concept of “educational malpractice” experienced by language minority students and the individual and societal consequences that result.

Rickford, John R. & Rickford Russell J. (2000). Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English. New York: John Wiley.
  • Rickford & Rickford’s book provides a poetic history of African American English that includes the essential link between language and its cultural context. Educators will find this book insightful into the African American community, language, and culture.

Educational Research and Policy with Linguistic Insight

Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Heath’s work uses the example of a particular community to demonstrate the disconnects between language, cultural, and the classroom framework. Heath suggests educational policy changes that aim at reaching all students.

Rickford, John R. & Rickford, Angela E. (1995). Dialect Readers Revisited. Linguistics and Education 7:107-128.
Accessible online:
  • Rickford & Rickford discuss the history of “dialect readers” including the successful and unsuccessful approaches in facilitating the acquisition of Standard English. The paper is forward looking by emphasizing “lessons” to keep in mind for future approaches.

Delpit, L. D., & Perry, T. (Eds.). (1998). The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language, and African American Children. Boston: Beacon Press.
Partially accessible online:
  • In the wake of the “Ebonics Resolution” and the subsequent Ebonics controversy, this collection of essays delves into the issues surrounding debates of language, culture, power, identity, and education.

Adger, C, T., Christian, D., & Taylor, O. (Eds). (1999). Making the Connection: Language and Academic Achievement among African Americans. McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.
  • Adger, Christan, and Taylor report on the alarming factors contributing to the underachievement of African American students in U.S. classrooms. This book provides strategies for educators to increase their knowledge of language variation and help their African American students succeed.

Cazden, C. B. (2001). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • This guide to classroom communication helps educators gain an appreciation for the complexity of classroom interactions. Information is provided on a wide range of classroom topics from lesson format considerations to causes of miscommunications.

Charity, Anne H., Scarborough, H. S., & Griffin, D. M. (2004). Familiarity with school English in African-American children and its relation to early reading achievement. Child Development, 75(5), 1340-1356.
  • Charity, Scarborough, and Griffin report their findings that early reading achievement is associated with a students’ knowledge of Standard English. This study highlights the disadvantage experienced in reading and achievement by speakers of African American English.

More Resources

Center for Applied Linguistics African American English Bibliography
  • Topics include assessment, reading, public policy, and many more bibliographic collections of information on African American English.

Rickford, John R, Sweetland, Julie, and Rickford, Angela E. (2004) ''African American English and Other Vernaculars in Education: A Topic-Coded Bibliography.'' Journal of English Linguistics 32:230-320.
  • A comprehensive bibliography on issues and topics related to language and education.

Online Materials for Educators

Teacher Magazine - Community Forums
"Does grammar matter anymore?"

NCLLP Multimedia ( - accompanies Voices of North Carolina DVD

Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) Websites for Educators
Online Resources on African American English

Labov Spotlight on Reading

Labov Reading Road

Do You Speak American?

Hannah Askin’s website, “Language Variation in the Classroom: A Guide for Educators”

Rachel Granata’s website, “SLP4Educators”

Language Log posts on issues related to language variation:

Downloadable and Streaming Podcasts from The Five-Minute Linguist on various topics:

See our Valuable Voices YouTube Channel for other media related to language variation

See also our website for more online and print materials