"The day I did not
sweep the house, there came to it one I did not expect." Spanish proverb
TWO GREAT RESOURCES ON LITERACY
President George Bush, Jr. is promoting a campaign to increase the literacy of
America's children. A variety of approaches to increasing the reading skills of
children are being promoted with the debate raging on the appropriate strategies
to achieving this end. Two excellent books shed light on this debate:
Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences
of Young American Children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing
Co., 1995. www.brookespublishing.com.
Examining the daily lives of 1- and 2-year old children in typical American families,
the authors found staggering contrasts at the extremes of advantage -- and within
the middle class -- in the amount of interaction between parents and children.
These differences in early family experiences translate into striking disparities
in the children's later vocabulary growth rate, vocabulary use, and IQ test scores
-- critical measures of an individual's ability to succeed at school and in the
Catherine E. Snow, M. Susan Burns, and Peg Griffin, Editors. Preventing
Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Washington, DC: National Academy
Press, 1998. www.nap.edu. This book draws upon
the expertise of psychologists, neurologists, and educators to establish clear
recommendations on several prominent educational controversies. It explores in
detail how to foster literacy from birth through kindergarten and the primary
grades, including the evaluation of philosophies, systems, and materials commonly
used to teach reading.
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