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Reading Families

The Literate Lives of Urban Children

Catherine Compton-Lilly Susan L. Lytle Marilyn Cochran-Smith

168 pages
Teachers College Press
This dynamic text offers a rare glimpse into the literacy development of urban children and their families’ role in it. Based on the author’s candid interviews with her first-grade students, their parents and grandparents, this book challenges the stereotypical view that urban parents don’t care about their children’s education. By listening closely to the voices of her students and their families, the author helps us to move beyond negative assumptions, revealing complexities that have been previously undocumented. A daring critique of racism and other societal factors that affect children’s learning, this important volume: Explores the limits and potential of mainstream literacy practices to make a material difference in the lives of socio-economically struggling families. Challenges educators to view reading as a complex social process that incorporates the experiences of family members as well as school and individual experiences. Provides a literacy model that treats the process of learning to read as situated not only within local contexts but also within a larger social order. Offers recommendations to help educators to build on the literacy experiences students bring with them to schools in poor communities and to respect the particular difficulties that these children face when learning to read.
Author Bio
Catherine Compton-Lilly is a first-grade and Reading Recovery teacher in Rochester, New York, and a visiting associate professor at Saint John Fisher College.