The Skin That We Speak by Lisa Delpit
I absolutely love Lisa Delpit! Many of the articles I have read for my research involves bits and pieces of information books. If you work with children in any capacity, read any one of her books and you will have gained so much knowledge and insight about culture, race, language and how it all impacts education. “The Skin that We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom” recognizes the English varieties of our children from the perspective of teachers. Mostly focused on African-American English, the essays range from Kindergarten to high school. It helps us think about the formal institution of schooling and how we should validate the home culture and languages these children bring with them to school.
Keepin It Real by Prudence Carter
I learned all about dominant cultural capital and non-dominant cultural capital from reading articles by Prudence Carter. It helped me understand how to validate and respect what children are bringing with them from their home environments and communities. “Keepin It Real” is a great read if you work with middle school and high school kids of any racial or ethnic background. It helps us gain some perspective as to why Black and Latin@ students may not be performing as well in the classroom as their White and Asian peers. She does a great job at looking at this from a non-deficit perspective, something that I believe many others do.
”Living Language” is a great start to looking at the ideas of language socialization (we are all socialized in one way or 5 other ways), language ideologies, impact of culture on language, and many more concepts. It helps us understand language differences versus deficits and hopefully get people talking about the variety of languages we speak in this world and, in my honest opinion, the beauty of that concept.
Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit
Again, another great read by Delpit. “Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom” focuses on the struggle and the imbalance of power in our society that manifests into the classroom. It is important to understand these dynamics, especially with the majority of our American public school teachers being White middle-class females and teaching children that do not resemble their same race or class. I often times get frustrated when I hear someone say, “I don’t see color, everyone is the same.” That is a wonderful moral sentiment, but the truth is, in today’s society, race, class, context, it all matters. It is important to begin having these conversations and I think this book is a tool for that purpose.
Dialects in Schools and Communities
Here’s the thing about books, you may not agree with everything they say, but take what you will away from it. I feel like “Dialects in Schools and Communities” is one of those books you don’t have to read cover-to-cover to gain some insight from it. It does a good job of talking about the different dialects that children come to school speaking and how we can better acknowledge these differences to enhance their school performance.