Season 6, Episode 12

Celebrating many meanings: Language comprehension and the importance of Black English, with Jasmine Rogers

While working with students, one educator came to a realization that put her on a path to fascinating research in the Science of Reading. In this episode, Jasmine Rogers—manager and coach with the In Schools program at the DC Reading Clinic and an early literacy intervention lead at American University—shares her story and delves into her research on dialects and best practices for structured literacy instruction. She discusses Black language and how it connects with the language comprehension strand of Scarborough’s Reading Rope. Jasmine also offers recommendations for classroom teachers who have bidialectal students.

Meet our guest(s):

Jasmine Rogers

Jasmine Rogers is a manager and coach with the In Schools program at the DC Reading Clinic, serving the District of Columbia Public Schools. In this role, she manages professional development on structured literacy best practices. For nine years, she was an elementary teacher serving in kindergarten and special education as well as a reading specialist. She also mentored at the DC Reading Clinic in its 2019 inaugural cohort. She holds masters degrees in sports administration, elementary education, and special education. She is currently an early literacy intervention lead at American University, pursuing her doctorate in education policy and leadership.

Meet our host, Susan Lambert

Susan Lambert is the Chief Academic Officer of Elementary Humanities at Amplify, and the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast. Her career has been focused on creating high-quality learning environments using evidence-based practices. Susan is a mom of four, a grandma of four, a world traveler, and a collector of stories.

As the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast, Susan explores the increasing body of scientific research around how reading is best taught. As a former classroom teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer, Susan is dedicated to turning theory into best practices that educators can put right to use in the classroom, and to showcasing national models of reading instruction excellence.


“As a teacher, a Black woman, who speaks Black English, who knows the language, who is very well versed in structured literacy, if I overlooked this, if that caught me off guard a little bit, then that means that could potentially catch someone else off guard.” —Jasmine Rogers
“With language comprehension, and considering in your native language, there may be a word that doesn’t necessarily match up with a language that you are learning in the classroom. So you have to then use your incredible cognitive skills that speak two completely different codes, comprehend what is happening, and then tie that back into, of course, the Rope to become a fluent reader.” —Jasmine Rogers
“I consider Black English to be a very complex and complicated language…but I think typically in society it has been viewed very negatively. You can see in the media and in research where people have talked about it and used negative connotations. And I think those beliefs from society have seeped into the classroom.” —Jasmine Rogers
“A strength of children that are bidialectal is the similar strength to students that are bilingual—they have an ability to take language that is different from theirs and translate it. That right there is an asset.” —Jasmine Rogers
“The languages that we speak and bring from home also are not wrong. They’re simply different. And we’re gonna work together so that we take what we know differently and come together with a common language so that we’re communicating with one another.” —Jasmine Rogers
“We have got to give our students access to this code so that they can become literate and run our society one day.” —Jasmine Rogers

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