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Classroom instruction is just one part of a child's early literacy development. With this timely, compelling book, readers will see the "big picture" of emergent literacy from birth through age 8 - examining not only the effects of classroom practices, but also the combined influences of gender, language, culture, socioeconomic status, home environment, media, and technology. Early childhood educators and interventionists will reflect on the concept of literacy as a social practice that develops within young children's cultural and linguistic communities examine specific issues in early literacy, such as skill development in reading and writing and the use of oral communication to boost literacy in classrooms learn how diversity among children - including factors like bilingualism, home experiences with language, special needs, and gender - affects early literacy explore the important but often overlooked roles of television, computers, music, and the visual arts in shaping children's early literacy Enriched with real-life examples of children's dialogue, artwork, and writing, this eye-opening test gives readers a fresh perspective on literacy development - knowledge they'll use to improve and revitalize literacy programs in early childhood classrooms.