The following vignette is from a book on literacy by James Gee, a sociolinguist. Gee recorded children in classrooms during “sharing time.” This story told by Leona, an African-American 2nd grader. Leona’s teacher considered her to be deficient in verbal/literacy abilities, that her stories had no point and were rambling. Gee observed that the teacher provided less instructional time to Leona than to children who presented stories in a more traditional topic style (beginning-middle-end). Note that the division into stanzas is part of Gee’s analysis. The teacher did not have the benefit of a transcribed story or the opportunity to engage in extended analysis. Gee wrote about the story as--
highly coherent and very sophisticated;
utilizing humor, and language play including a repetition of words in patterns;
Leona’s attempt to make sense of her grandmother’s behavior;
using a story format common among many African-American teenagers (Labov 1972).
Please discuss in a group of 4 whether you agree with Gee’s analysis. Find those parts of the story which demonstrate these points, and be prepared to share them. How could a teacher incorporate Leona’s strengths into literacy instruction? FRAME: STANZA 1