Beginning Literacy with Language: Young Children Learning at Home and School / Edition 1

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In this exciting new book, you'll travel into the homes and schools of over 70 young children from diverse backgrounds and observe parent-child and teacher-child interactions. Through research gathered in the Home School Study of Language and Literacy Development, the authors share with you the relationship they've found between these critical, early interactions and children's kindergarten language and literacy skills. You'll explore both the home and school environments of these children at ages 3, 4, and 5. You'll see how families talk to their young children during everyday activities like book reading, toy play, and mealtimes. You'll also examine children's conversations throughout the classroom day and consider how teachers strive to support children's development. In each chapter, you'll see how the data was collected read actual transcripts of parent-child and teacher- child interactions recognize how these interactions relate to later development get suggestions for supporting children's language and literacy development learn how these findings play out in the lives of four of the children in the study Find out how young children's home and classroom experiences during the preschool years are related to their kindergarten language and literacy skills, and discover the kinds of conversations that make a difference.
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Editorial Reviews

Harvard Graduate School of Education - Courtney Cazden

"Pay attention to the title! Beginning Literacy with Language is the bottom-line message of this longitudinal research on the language and literacy development of Head Start children all the way from preschool through 7th grade. Rich oral language opportunities matter a lot, at home and maybe even more at school. An encouraging and inspiring account of how schools, in early childhood and beyond, can make a difference."

Edward Zigler

"Vivid descriptions and thoughtful explanations of language development in young children. The book has great value to social scientists studying this enticing field. It also conveys a valuable message to parents and early childhood educators that their everyday interactions with small children form the abilities they will need to achieve literacy as they progress through formal schooling."

Education Review

"Parents who are interested in day-to-day interaction opportunities will find the 'suggestions for parents' sections helpful, as they provide ideas without a lot of technical jargon and research methodologies. Educators will applaud this book for the in-depth research, references, statistics, charts, and actual classroom observations and transcripts. Professors in an academic Education Department may also wish to review a copy for use in an early childhood education curriculum."

Harvard Educational Review

"An excellent resource for an academic course on child development, as it presents a broad picture of the applications of language development theory in education. It also has an instructive quality for the practitioner who may want a summary of theories regarding language and literacy development and empirical findings organized and presented by influential figures in this area of child development. Parents will also find this book useful. After each chapter, the editors present a series of recommendations of best practices for home and school environments."

Based on research gathered for the Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development, vignettes of some 70 young children from diverse backgrounds reveal the importance of early parent-child and teacher- child interactions and children's kindergarten language and literacy skills. Suggestions are given for enhancing children's language and literacy development at home and at school. Dickinson is a researcher at the Center for Children and Families at the Education Development Center, Inc. Tabors is a researcher and instructor in the Human Development and Psychology Department at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557664792
  • Publisher: Brookes Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 409
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

After 5 years of experience teaching in elementary schools in the Philadelphia area, David K. Dickinson, Ed.D., attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education and then served as Director of Teacher Education at the Child Study Department at Tufts University and joined the Education Department at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he received tenure. He moved to the Education Development Center (EDC) in 1994 to join the team that developed the Early Childhood Generalist certificate for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In 1995 he established the New England Research Center on Head Start Quality, which examined the impact of Head Start on children's language and literacy development and on families, with special attention to the development of children whose first language is Spanish. He and Catherine Snow received the initial funding that launched the Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development in 1987, and he directed the school portion of the study during the preschool years. Drawing on early results from this study, he and colleagues at EDC developed the Literacy Environment Enrichment Project, an approach to helping preschool teachers and their supervisors adopt more effective practices to support children's language and literacy. He and others at EDC are developing and researching a version of this program that will be delivered using the Internet in combination with interactive television. His work has been published in numerous articles, and he has edited two other books, Bridges to Literacy: Children, Families and Schools (Blackwell, 1994) and Handbook of Early Literacy Research (co-edited with Susan Neuman, Guilford Press, 2001). He and Miriam W. Smith are co-authors (with Angela Sangeorge & Louisa Anastasopoulos) of the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation Toolkit, Research Edition (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2002), a set of tools for evaluating the quality of literacy support in early childhood classrooms.

Prior to beginning her doctoral studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1981, Patton O. Tabors was an elementary school teacher and a childbirth educator. During her doctoral studies she focused on first and second language acquisition in young children. Her qualifying paper and dissertation research, based on 2 years of ethnographic investigation in a nursery school classroom, described the developmental pathway of a group of young children learning English as a second language. She was able to use this information as the basis for the material in One Child, Two Languages: A Guide for Preschool Educators of Children Learning English as a Second Language (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 1997). Since 1987, Dr. Tabors has been the research coordinator of the Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development in collaboration with Catherine Snow and David Dickinson. During this time she has also directed research related to low-education and low-income mothers reading to their preschool-age children as part of the Manpower Development Research Corporation evaluations of two welfare-to-work projects, New Chance and JOBS, and for the Harvard Language Diversity Project, a subproject of the New England Research Center on Head Start Quality, directed by David Dickinson. Dr. Tabors's latest research, a longitudinal project that is following the language and literacy development of Spanish-speaking children from preschool to second grade, combines her interests in early language and literacy development and second language acquisition in young children.

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Table of Contents

About the Editors
About the Contributors
Ch. 1 Language Development in the Preschool Years 1
Sect. I Supporting Language and Literacy Development in the Home 27
Ch. 2 Parents and Children Reading Books Together 31
Ch. 3 Playing at Home: The Talk of Pretend Play 53
Ch. 4 Eating and Reading: Links Between Family Conversations with Preschoolers and Later Language and Literacy 75
Ch. 5 "You Know What Oxygen Is?": Learning New Words at Home 93
Ch. 6 Home Language and Literacy Environment: Final Results 111
Sect. II Supporting Language and Literacy Development in the Preschool Classroom 139
Ch. 7 Children's Experiences in Preschool 149
Ch. 8 Book Reading in Preschool Classrooms: Is Recommended Practice Common? 175
Ch. 9 Language Opportunities During Mealtimes in Preschool Classrooms 205
Ch. 10 Large-Group and Free-Play Times: Conversational Settings Supporting Language and Literacy Development 223
Ch. 11 Putting the Pieces Together: Impact of Preschool on Children's Language and Literacy Development in Kindergarten 257
Sect. III Bringing Homes and Schools Together 289
Ch. 12 Parent Involvement as a Link Between Home and School 291
Ch. 13 Homes and Schools Together: Supporting Language and Literacy Development 313
Appendix Home-School Study Data 335
References 387
Index 397
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