Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Mary Avalos

Second Committee Member

Arlene Clachar

Third Committee Member

Anne Hocutt

Fourth Committee Member

Jeanne Schumm


This dissertation is an effort to contribute to the knowledge base concerning reading instruction for adolescent students who speak African American Vernacular English (AAVE), as well as their acquisition of Standard English (SE), by focusing on language structure during a modified approach to guided reading (MGR). Emphasis was placed on teaching the eight inflectional morphemes in SE, as well as other literacy strategies to AAVE speaking students. This intervention hypothesized that the teaching and learning of inflectional morphemes, in particular, would increase SE literacy acquisition. The intervention utilized formative experiment methodology and a quasi-experimental time series design. Data sources and collection took several forms: a) KTEA II - reading (letter and word recognition and reading comprehension) and written language (written expression) (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004); b) field reflections; c) student surveys; and d) video-taped MGR lessons. Informal assessments such as the Ekwall/Shanker Reading Inventory, 4th Edition (Shanker & Ekwall, 2000) were used to guide instruction for MGR lessons. The findings supported the hypothesis that instruction of inflectional morphemes in SE has a positive impact on reading, writing, and overall acquisition of SE among AAVE speaking students.


Literacy; African American Education; Reading Instruction; Literacy; Non-standard Dialects