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Article
Black English Vernacular and Reading Comprehension: A Cline Study of Third, Sixth and Ninth Graders
Journal of Reading Behavior (1982)
  • M. S. Steffensen
  • Ralph E. Reynolds, University of Northern Iowa
  • E. McClure
  • L. Guthrie
Abstract
This study was concerned with the reading comprehension of speakers of Black English Vernacular (BEV). Third, sixth, and ninth graders were rated as BEV or Standard English (SE) speakers using a sentence repetition task. They were then asked to complete passages which had been dozed for content words and verbs in the past and present tenses. This task used a multiple-choice format: Verb distractors were other forms of the cloned verb; content word distractors were words that were anomalous in that context. In a second task, subjects supplied time adverbials for 15 short paragraphs written in the past, present, or future tenses. On the clone task, BEV speakers had significantly more errors for verbs than for content words compared to SE speakers. They also had significantly more errors in selecting the appropriate time adverbial on the basis of tense. These findings can be attributed to differences that exist in the verbal systems of SE and BEV.
Publication Date
1982
Citation Information
M. S. Steffensen, Ralph E. Reynolds, E. McClure and L. Guthrie. "Black English Vernacular and Reading Comprehension: A Cline Study of Third, Sixth and Ninth Graders" Journal of Reading Behavior Vol. 16 Iss. 3 (1982) p. 285 - 298
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ralph_reynolds/31/