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Brothers and Sisters Learn to Write

Popular Literacies in Childhood and School Culture

Anne Haas Dyson Celia Genishi Dorothy S. Strickland Donna E. Alvermann

Teachers College Press
Building on her groundbreaking work in Writing Superheroes, Anne Dyson traces the influence of a wide-ranging set of “textual toys” from children’s lives—church and hip-hop songs, rap music, movies, TV, traditional jump-rope rhymes, the words of professional sports announcers and radio deejays—upon school learning and writing. Wonderfully rich portraits of five African American first-graders demonstrate how children’s imaginative use of wider cultural symbols enriches their school learning. Featuring lively and engaging vignettes of children who are often left behind by our educational system, this book: Provides a detailed view of written language development from inside a particular childhood culture. Shows that children bring a rich folk culture to school and demonstrates how they “remix” their cultural references to accommodate school tasks such as writing. Turns the traditional educational view inside out by starting from inside a child’s culture and looking out toward the demands of school, rather than starting on the outside of the child and looking in. Provides concrete examples of how children’s cultural literacy practices translate into classroom practices and, in turn, into practices of academic success.
Author Bio
Anne Haas Dyson is a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Social Worlds of Children Learning to Write in an Urban Primary School, Writing Superheroes, The Brothers and Sisters Learn to Write, and with Celia Genishi, Children, Language, and Literacy: Diverse Learners in Diverse Times.