Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

African American English Style Shifting Curriculum

Technology #5885

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Holly K. Craig
Managed By
Drew Bennett
Associate Director - Software Licensing 734-615-4004

Researchers in the University of Michigan, School of Education have developed a curriculum to teach bi-dialecticism to young speakers of African American English. The curriculum in includes both an assessment and an intervention portion designed to educate Kindergarten and 1st grade students on how to transition from African American English (AAE) to Academic Classroom English (ACE). This transition, known as style shifting, has demonstrated benefits in reading performance. The developed curriculum has been tested and refined over a three year design experiment with pilot study.

African American English

Many African American students, particularly those residing in large urban centers, are speakers of African American English (AAE). There are some existing programs aimed at teaching Academic Classroom English, but they are mainly aimed at middle and high school levels, while the developed curriculum is designed for younger learners. The curriculum includes both the methods and the resources such as books and scripts to teach the material. With over $8B spent on K12 educational content per year, there is a substantial market for a product that can provide education to a currently underserved population.


  • Classroom curriculum
  • Educational software


  • Tested and refined methods
  • Young age specific
  • Includes assessment and intervention

Commercial Partner

    The African American English Style Shifting Curriculum has been licensed exclusively to Ventris Learning, inc. who is developing the commercial version of the curriculum. For additional information please contact them at