Narrowing the Literacy Gap : What Works in High-Poverty Schools book cover
1st Edition

Narrowing the Literacy Gap
What Works in High-Poverty Schools

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ISBN 9781593852764
Published May 4, 2006 by Guilford Press
195 Pages

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Book Description

This engaging book offers new insights and information on why students in high-poverty schools struggle with literacy achievement and what specific factors promote success. Findings from a unique study are translated into clear recommendations for enriching the classroom environment at different grade levels and helping all children, including English language learners, become highly skilled readers and writers. Packed with compelling observations and data, the book illustrates the realities of day-to-day life in the classroom, provides snapshots of exemplary instructional practices, and emphasizes the key role of teacher-student interactions in overcoming barriers to learning.

Table of Contents

1. Learning from Students over Time
2. Looking at Students' Literacy Learning
3. Learning from Teachers
4 . Widening the Lens: Multiple Perspectives on Teaching and Learning
5. Conundrums and Discoveries Along the Way
Appendix: Methodology of the Research Study

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Diane M. Barone, EdD, is Professor in the Department of Educational Specialties at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she teaches courses in literacy and qualitative research methods. Her research has focused primarily on young children's literacy development, particularly in high-poverty schools. She has conducted two longitudinal studies of literacy development: a 4-year study of children exposed prenatally to crack/cocaine, and a 7-year study of children in a high-poverty school. Her publications include journal articles, book chapters, and a number of books. Dr. Barone served for 8 years as the Editor of Reading Research Quarterly, and is currently a board member of the National Reading Conference and the International Reading Association, as well as the principal investigator of the Reading First grant in Nevada.


"Barone engages the reader by sharing the successes and struggles of a group of children throughout their elementary school years in a high-poverty school. Their individual stories underscore the impact that caring, effective teachers and consistent literacy instruction can have on the literacy development of high-poverty students. Not only do we learn from the students and teachers portrayed in this work, but Barone’s use of multiple theoretical lenses to analyze their experiences also deepens our appreciation of the complexity of literacy learning. This is a 'must read' for all teachers and literacy specialists working in schools serving diverse populations of students."--Joyce E. Many, PhD, Department of Middle/Secondary Education and Instructional Technology, College of Education, Georgia State University

"This important book portrays the triumphs and struggles of 16 children and their teachers as the children progress from kindergarten to 6th grade in a high-poverty school. We come to understand literacy learning from the children's perspective and how teachers' views of and expectations for their students, along with mandates and school reform, influence their instructional practices. Each chapter provides useful insights and reflections on how to teach literacy to children from low-income families. This is an essential book for anyone teaching children in high-poverty elementary schools who seeks a deeper understanding of literacy learning from multiple perspectives."--Barbara A. Bradley, PhD, Department of Teaching and Leadership, University of Kansas

"Diane Barone has conducted one of the finest longitudinal case studies focused on the literacy development of children in a high-poverty school. The findings from her research provide a detailed and compelling picture of life in the classroom as a group of students moves from kindergarten through sixth grade. The study goes beyond merely documenting the children’s literacy development; it also details the challenges of teaching and learning in high-poverty schools and what teachers do to support or inadvertently hinder literacy development. Findings are also compared to the existing research on exemplary literacy instruction for students from high-poverty backgrounds and English language learners. Classroom teachers, educational leaders, and literacy researchers will find this book to be an excellent resource as they work with current and future teachers who seek to understand what children come to school knowing about literacy, what youth believe about themselves as literacy learners (e.g., their sense of self-efficacy), and what good teachers do to organize instruction and implement appropriate instructional practices."--Deborah R. Dillon, PhD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

"For a long time I have been hoping to read something truly new in the field. This book is it! This reader-friendly book uses a scientifically based research approach to simultaneously examine teaching practices and student learning and achievement across time and grade levels. It offers a nice account of the uneven and at times frustrating road to literacy acquisition, with special attention to English language learning. A 'must read' for practitioners and professors."--Kathy Escamilla, PhD, School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder