Sociolinguistics of Literacy, Bilingual Education, and Tesol

Bernard Spolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recent sociolinguistic studies suggest a method for understanding more clearly the many complex relations between literacy and language education in general. Three cases are described to demonstrate this. In the history of Jewish education, the change in attitude to literacy, involving the acceptance of literacy for recording and learning the Oral Law as well as the Written Law may be seen as one of the factors that kept Hebrew alive even after it was no longer a spoken language. The contemporary bilingual program at Rock Point Community School works for biliteracy in a community that until now has been bilingual but monoliterate. The Pacific Northwest Indian Reading Program uses reading in the standard language to achieve a measure of community access to the curriculum that is usually only possible with a bilingual program. The sociolinguistics of literacy provides a method for understanding how and why each of these varied curricular approaches suited the situation in which they were developed. 1982 TESOL International Association

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1982


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