Interesting Info for Educators, SLPs and Parents

     First, another validation of our approach, method and materials has emerged in the form of a study from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor's Center for the Development of Language and Literacy, which was published in August of 2009, in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR). It's entitled: African American English-Speaking Students: An Examination of the Relationship Between Dialect Shifting and Reading Outcomes. The authors  conclude that their "findings support a dialect shifting-reading achievement hypothesis, which proposes that AAE (African American English)-speaking students, who learn to use SAE (Standard American English) in literacy tasks, will outperform their peers who do not make this linguistic adaptation." Click on for the abstract. The full article can be found in the JSLHR, Vol 52 839-855 August 2009.
     Next, if you want to read the entire, detailed report on how an elementary school's students raised their standardized test scores 30 cumulative percentile points, click on Los Angeles Unified School District. The increase occurred after the LAUSD faculty had attended a two-day Teach Standard, Too Workshop, and then  implemented the 95 SchoolTalk / FriendTalk scripted lessons for the school year. 

     Next, click on our Sample SST AUDIO Lessons  page. The lessons are from the Speak Standard, Too (SST) CDs, and are accompanied by their counterparts in the SST text.  You and/or your students can follow what's printed in the text's lessons, while practicing with the audio lessons. Make sure you try them out and remember to practice out loud!

     In addition, you'll want to follow the factual narrative of one family's educational ordeal. Written in blog form, this true story is about a young, intelligent Nonstandard English-speaking boy whose school professionals wanted him tested and labeled as language-disordered, with the eventual goal of transferring him into one of the school district's special education programs. This is a true and cautionary tale, which unfolds as a flashback of how his parents dealt with this all-too-frequent scenario. The blog covers over a year of events, and will eventually catch up to how the family is doing now.  Email exchanges, phone conversations, current research and supplemental narratives all combine to chronicle the events.  Click on Blog: Harriet vs CELF-4  for a quintessential example of an important and scandalous educational issue of which all parents and educators need to be aware! 

     Next, if you click
 on Sample Workshops you'll find an extensive list of workshops, each of which illustrates how varied and customized the settings and the structures of our workshops, seminars, classes and curricular development can be. There's also a methodology-related note that may be of particular interest to my Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) colleagues who work in the schools.

     Finally, I hope you'll click on Four Linguistic Concepts to read a discussion of the following four precepts that comprise the premise of our methods and materials: Language Bias; Linguistic Truth; "Start with Speech"; and the Bi-dialectal Method.

                                            Thanks for visiting!

30 Cumulative Point-Increase in Elementary School's Standardized Test Scores after Faculty Uses SchoolTalk / FriendTalk

Los Angeles Unified School District Elementary School's Students Increase Test Scores by 30 Percentile Points!

During one of my phone conversations with Sharon Sweet, the Principal of Avalon Gardens School, Ms. Sweet gave me permission to use her name, her school's name and the following information on our web site. I'd like to thank her - both for her permission and her relentless commitment to her students' future success.

I conducted a two-day teacher-training workshop for the faculty of Avalon Gardens Elementary School in L.A.  The Los Angeles Unified School District had categorized the school's K-5 children as "at risk students."  The faculty, administrators and office staff all attended the workshop to learn how to use the Teach Standard, Too (TST) manual, its 95 SchoolTalk / FriendTalk (ST/FT) scripted lessons and the Write Standard, Too (WST) student journals - all for teaching children to master oral and written standard English for reading, writing and testing in school.

In addition, members of the faculty learned to use the Speak Standard, Too (SST) text/CD program, both as a  resource, and, if needed, as a self-help device for making sure that they are consistent standard English-speaking models for their students.

Soon after the beginning of the school year - upon initial implementation of the ST/FT
 course - Principal Sweet reported that students were demonstrating marked improvement in reading and writing performances in their classrooms, as well as increased usage of "school talk" when in their classrooms and in her office.  She also noted that the students seemed comfortable - not resentful - "switching" into "school talk" if they needed to be reminded to do so.

In the spring, after using the ST/FT program for nine months, Ms. Sweet reported that students scored a cumulative increase of thirty percentile points on their standardized test scores. She attributed this increase in large part to the ST/FT lessons because: the two-day training workshop prepared the teachers well; nothing else was added to or eliminated from the curriculum except the ST/FT program; commitment to consistent delivery - daily usage of the scripts at 10:30 every morning in every classroom. 

Click on Books/CDs/Lessons for more information about all the materials. In addition, you can try out a couple of lessons from both sets of materials by going to Sample Text/CD Lessons and Sample SST AUDIO Lessons.

TEACH STANDARD, TOO: Teach Oral and Written Standard English as a Second Dialect to English-Speaking Students. TST is a Teacher's Manual that includes the 95 SCHOOLTALK / FRIENDTALK Scripted Lessons - among many other useful and effective teachers' tools. SchoolTalk / FriendTalk has improved students' reading, writing and standardized test scores. 1 WRITE STANDARD, TOO Student Journal is included in the order.
WRITE STANDARD, TOO: My SchoolTalk / FriendTalk Writing Journal. These per student journals are designed to coordinate with and implement all of the SchoolTalk / FriendTalk writing lessons. Children love having their own journals! The WST Journals come in 10-Packs.
SPEAK STANDARD, TOO TEXT/CDs SET: Add Standard English as a Second Dialect to Your Talking Style. This nationally-praised and innovative Bi-Dialectal program consists of the SST Text and 5 CDs. This set is used in Middle School/High School/College classrooms, in a variety of Continuing Education settings and as a Self-Help manual. The books and CDs are encased in a sturdy and attractive vinyl album.

The Four Concepts that Comprise the Premise of our Method & Materials: Linguistic Truth, Language Bias, "Start with Speech" and Bi-Dialectalism

A clear understanding of Four Linguistic Concepts will dispel the mythology that many of you have been taught about Standard and Nonstandard English dialects. 

First, be honest with yourself. Have you ever used speaking style to determine a person's intelligence and potential ... a student, colleague or friend - an interviewee, relative or supervisor? 

Has anyone ever prejudged your talent, capabilities and intelligence based solely on your speaking style?

Language Bias -
using speaking style as the sole or major determiner of intelligence and capability - is a harmful, pervasive and unfair practice.  It causes millions of intelligent and talented children and adults to fail academically and professionally because their speaking styles differ from those who teach, test, interview and employ them.  Language Bias and the widespread Lack of Linguistic - and, therefore, Cultural - Knowledge among educators are among the major causes for why a disproportionate number of nonstandard English-speaking students perform poorly in the classroom, score low on standardized testing, subsequently comprise the majority of children who are tracked into low level or special education classes and eventually become dropouts.

Discovering Two Linguistic Truths is what attendees pursue during the initial period of the teacher-training workshops, linguistic seminars and adult standard English-acquisition classes. These truths relate to  standard and nonstandard English dialects, and the people who speak them. Learning this information usually results in dramatic and positive changes: in teachers' mindsets and attitudes toward their culturally different students; in educational tracking and testing policies; in corporate hiring and promotion policies; in intercultural relations within communities and companies; and, perhaps most importantly, in dispelling the mythology of inferiority regarding one's own self-image. 

Once teachers and corporate managers learn the linguistic truth about nonstandard English dialects - and the people who speak them - they understand that all speakers who are fluent in their primary dialects can master any other dialect, including oral and written standard English ... because: 
Nonstandard English-speakers - and their dialects - are Different, Not Deficient.

We believe that all Americans, regardless of their speaking styles, deserve the chance to compete effectively for the benefits which our country provides, and to pursue their academic and professional dreams.  We know that acquisition and mastery of oral and written standard English are major components of that preparation.  

Why do we "Start with Speech"? We teach acquisition and mastery of oral Standard English, first, because: Nonstandard English-speaking children and adults tend to read, write and test the way they speak. If  students do not learn to switch into oral standard English grammar and pronunciation, poor performances in writing, reading and test-taking usually follow, and they often end up on the lower side of the achievement gap.

Finally, the Bi-Dialectal approach is similar to a Bi-Lingual program. We train teachers to systematically teach nonstandard English-speaking children and adults to situationally master standard English for school, testing and work. Random correction is eliminated as an optional classroom "corrective" technique.

In addition, we linguistically legitimize students' primary dialects, approving use of those styles for family, friends and other situations during which they would be more appropriate and/or more advantageous. 

Workshop-attendees learn that if they work within the parameters of the bi-dialectal method, they do not have to demand that their students make a choice between primary and standard dialects - this means that students do not have to abandon the dialects of home, history, neighborhood and cultural identity - switching situationally between the primary and standard styles. 

In addition, teachers do not have to be reluctant to conduct this type of Standard English-acquisition curriculum for fear of insulting and embarrassing their students. Students are assured that their primary dialects are situationally legitimate, making it much more likely that they will be willing to pursue acquisition and mastery of the standard English dialect - a tool that is vital for them to have if they are going to be able to successfully pursue their chosen academic and professional fields.

Call 773.528.6200 or email for more information.  We always enjoy hearing from you and speaking with you!