A tested and proven Black dialect/Cross-Cultural reading program to make invisible children visible
Teachers can be more effective and meaningful toward dealing with non-mainstream diverse student populations only, if they are trained on dealing with culturally different students and given the appropriate educational tools to address the specific needs of these students.. Teaching these students to read more effectively using African American Vernacular English (AAVE) materials and then helping the students transfer this increased competence to Standard English, offering teachers and reading specialists a field-validated reading program which offers hope to Black children are one of these educational tools.
This reading program is long over due for our Black inner-city and rural kids. This field-validated approach to reading offers new hope to Black children in our inner-city and rural school populations.. Please lend your help to resurrect this proven reading program and begin to lift our forgotten and invisible Black children to a new world of literacy, one, out of poverty.” If you don’t read, you don’t know and will never find out!”
Lend your voices: As the song “Wake up Everybody” by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes” says,, ”Wake up all the teachers, time to teach a new way, maybe then they’ll listen to watcha have to say ,cause they’re the ones who’s coming up and the world is in their hands, when you teach the children, teach them the very best way you can!”
Some additional info regarding research on “Bridge Program.” The most critical educational problem confronting educators, researchers, and policymakers today is how to break the vicious cycle of the cumulative deficit; how to close the Black-White test score gap. The Bridge study has the potential for providing schools with an effective theory-based model for interpretation, providing teachers with effective methods for improving Standard English reading skills of functionally illiterate, unmotivated, culturally-different students at the middle and high school levels as demonstrated by standardized achievement test scores. The Bridge Reading Program also has the potential of providing the schools with a means of increasing the students’ motivational levels and changing their attitudes toward reading.
It has become apparent for some time that Black, culturally-different children are not achieving successfully in this country’s public school systems. It is well documented in the literature that, as Black children proceed through school, they fall behind the national average at all grade levels on academic measurements. The longer they remain in school, the further behind the national average they fall! The current trend in public education that calls for accountability for educational outcomes and setting national standards based on what all students are expected to learn ( measured by standardized tests), makes the Bridge research more relevant today than ever. Teachers throughout the country, in predominantly minority schools, are faced with the task of educating Black, culturally-different, non-mainstream students who tend to be disinterested, unmotivated, bored, and often hostile toward the academic activities of the schools.
When faced with low achievement tests scores on the part of the students, administrators and teachers tend to blame the students, the parents and the Black community for the school’s inability to motivate and teach these students. The schools continue with” business as usual” while Black students fall behind national achievement norms on all academic measures at all grade levels. The Bridge Reading Program clearly showed that, for four months of instruction at each grade level (7-12), the experimental group had a mean gain score in equivalency of 6.2 months for four months of instruction. The results of the Teacher Questionnaire (formative evaluation) indicated that the students found the Bridge Program highly enjoyable and easy to follow and understand. Teachers consistently reported that the behavior management section of the program was extremely effective in keeping students on task and they experienced fewer discipline problems in the classroom.
A Black Harvard graduate student, successfully field tested “ Bridge, A Cross-Cultural Reading Program. Dr. Gary Simpkins designed and tested the program with Houghton Mifflin Publishers in 1976, its methodology improved reading scores of functionally illiterate Black inner-city students in grades 7-12. Reading scores for the kids that were taught with the ‘Bridge Readers’ showed 6.2 months of reading gain after four months of instruction and testing.
By contrast, what researchers also found was that the kids that were taught by the conventional methods showed only 1.6 months of reading gain, consistent with the evidence that” the longer African American kids stay in school with existing methods, the further behind they fall in national norms.” The experimental evidence was dramatically in support of the approach, the method offered hope that African American kids would finally be able to read above and ahead of the norm, rather than below it.
But the inclusion of the vernacular in some of the “Bridge” readers, even though the kids ended up reading the final version in standard English, elicited knee-jerk negative reactions similar to those which emerged in the Oakland Ebonics debacle of 1996. The publisher of this innovative series of readers, Houghton Mifflin, embarrassed by the negative reactions, quickly decided against continuing production of the “Bridge” series, and this very innovative and promising experiment came to an abrupt end, despite its demonstrated pedagogical success, (Professor John Rickford, Stanford University). The Bridge Reading Program makes effective use of peer influence on learning, providing for differences in individual levels of achievement, and accommodates cultural differences. Its methodology is still viable today and the program is suitable for adults with reading problems.
Over 50% of our Black non-mainstream students in inner-city schools are functionally illiterate, functioning at a peak of 4.9 grade level achievement rate in reading and writing. Presently, research funding is actively being sought to convert the revised edition of the ”Bridge” readers into a computerized interactive teacher/student friendly version for our inner-city students. Dr. Patricia Young at the UMBC. is the chairperson for the project..
Her contact email: Pyoung@umbc.edu; phone: 410-455-3902
Lets attack one of the main causes of dysfunction within the Black inner-cities (Illiteracy)..
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