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Words of their own Ruthie Stern

Words of their own

Ruthie Stern

Published
ISBN : 9780549788546
NOOKstudy eTextbook
338 pages
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 About the Book 

This study documents and analyzes four African American students transactions with select poems from the Harlem Renaissance. The study was conducted during a four-month period in a seventh grade classroom in a New York City public school. MultipleMoreThis study documents and analyzes four African American students transactions with select poems from the Harlem Renaissance. The study was conducted during a four-month period in a seventh grade classroom in a New York City public school. Multiple types of data were collected. Students annotated the poems they read, they wrote their own poetry, and they wrote letters. Classroom and small group discussions were recorded. Two one-on-one interviews with the four students were conducted as well.-The author of this study, a speaker of Standard English, noted that some of her students were bi-dialectical- they spoke both Standard English and Black English.-This study shows that, to varying degrees, the students who were bi-dialectical were likely to use Signifyin(g), a key component of Black English, in their transactions with the texts they read. The purpose of the study is to examine the impact Signifyin(g) may have had on the manner of the students transactions with the texts.-The study introduces a theoretical framework that builds upon the ideas of two scholars. Louise Rosenblatts transactional theory presents the notion that each individual reader transacts in his or her way with a literary text. Henry Louis Gates Jr.s Signifyin(g) theory provides the tools necessary for the analysis of these transactions. Thus, Signifyin(g) transactions, a pedagogical concept that combines the ideas of both theorists, emerges.-This study shows a transactional model that provides the necessary space for student readers to transact with literary texts on their own terms. The study challenges teachers to remain open to the idea that their students may transact with literary texts in ways they may not be familiar with because of students use of the dialect. It also calls upon teachers to expand their own knowledge so that they may develop a better understanding of their students transactional strategies. In the case of this study, the strategies used by the students were Signifyin(g) transactions.