An alarmingly high number of American students continue to lack proficiency in reading, math, and science. The various attempts to address this problem have all too often resulted in “silver bullet” solutions such as reducing class size or implementing voucher programs. But as the authors of this critically important book show, improving literacy also requires an understanding of complex and interrelated social issues that shape a child’s learning. More than twenty years of research demonstrate that literacy success is determined by a combination of sociocultural forces including parenting, preschool, classroom instruction, and other factors that have a direct impact on a child’s development. Here, Frederick J. Morrison, Heather J. Bachman, and Carol McDonald Connor present the most up-to-date research on the diverse factors that relate to a child’s literacy development from preschool through early elementary school. Urging greater emphasis on the immediate sources of influence on children, the authors warn against simple, single solutions that ignore other pivotal aspects of the problem. In a concluding chapter, the authors propose seven specific recommendations for improving literacy—recommendations that can make a real difference in American education.
Frederick J. Morrison is professor in the Department of Psychology and research professor at the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan. Heather J. Bachman is research scientist at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University. Carol McDonald Connor is assistant professor, College of Education and Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University.
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