Literacy, Access, and Libraries among the Language Minority Population

Literacy, Access, and Libraries among the Language Minority Population

by Rebecca Constantino
     
 

While there is a great lamenting among the public within educational circles about "illiteracy," especially within the language minority community, there is little focus on the possible solutions to the problem of low literacy rates. This body of work highlights many successful strategies which tackle this issue. This book is unique in that it approaches the issue of…  See more details below

Overview

While there is a great lamenting among the public within educational circles about "illiteracy," especially within the language minority community, there is little focus on the possible solutions to the problem of low literacy rates. This body of work highlights many successful strategies which tackle this issue. This book is unique in that it approaches the issue of literacy in the language minority community from many perspectives. Literacy is investigated as a continuum of interconnected factors. It takes a hard look at the research in a way that is enlightening for both researchers and students. Accompanying the research are numerous suggestions and possible solutions. This book contains the necessary theoretical base as well as practical solutions. It includes accounts of reading programs in the classrooms, recommendations of selected Spanish language books for children, documentation about cases of free reading at the university level and the strengths of native language books for adult learners. "Literacy, Access and Libraries" is helpful to a wide range of audiences while detailing the specific concerns of language minority communities. With a concrete foundation in theories of literacy the book is also helpful to educators and those concerned with relationships between communities, and the impact of language acquisition, literacy, and reading on the social practices of students. It contains effective strategies for literacy in both public and private settings, and proves an excellent source of information for anyone providing services to the language minority community.

Author Biography: Rebecca Constantino (Ph.D., University of Southern California) has writtenextensively on issues concerning literacy and language minority communities. She is active in community service and is a member of the California Association of Bilingual Education.

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Editorial Reviews

Knowledge Quest
...a must read for anyone working with urban students, those who speak English as a second language, or members of minority populations..
VOYA - Sarah Hudson
Constantino has edited a collection of research relating literacy, vocabulary, and language to free reading among minority language populations. The studies relate the availability of reading materials to the literacy of individuals for whom English is a second language. This work also presents studies concerned with the library's role in reading for leisure, which is important in increasing language skills for students of all ages. Studies show that "free voluntary reading" helps readers develop conversational skills in a second language and increases the English language proficiency for both conversational and academic purposes. Leisure reading presents everyday language and usage to readers. While leisure reading in the second language has benefits for the development of skills in that second language, it is also important to increase leisure reading in a reader's primary language. Individuals who develop an interest in leisure reading in their primary language develop their primary language skills. Adequate development of the first language increases the ability of the student to acquire the second language. The researchers in this volume explored the idea that the relative proximity of book collections increases free reading: the accessibility of books increases the possibility a child will read. The authors discuss libraries of all types, including school, public, classroom, and home. Through a variety of research, including case studies, observation, and experimental course work involving pre-course and post-course testing, researchers show that an increased contact with books and leisure reading increased a desire among minority language populations to read. By reading more, their language skills and literacy increases in both their primary and secondary languages. This is an informative book for librarians. The authors reveal that existing collections in many libraries in languages other than English are often too small to serve their populations. Public library success stories in neighborhoods where English is a second language show that libraries can have a positive effect on the communities they serve. Libraries must also market their services in a way that people coming from other countries without such services can understand. A discussion of the School/Library Partnership of Washoe County Library (Nevada) shows that by working together, economically challenged public service agencies can develop positive resources for minority language communities. This book would benefit the English as a Second Language teacher in terms of explaining the importance of free reading in teaching English. It is also beneficial to the school or public librarian facing the challenge of serving minority language populations. Leisure reading in the primary language and the secondary language, such as English, is of benefit to the student of any age. Outreach, creativity, access, and funding are important in reaching the minority population. Index. Biblio. Appendix.
Booknews
Presents 11 inquiries into possible solutions of low literacy rates among language minority populations in the United States, especially with regard to access to libraries and native language books. Case studies investigated include classroom reading programs, free university level reading, and the strengths of providing native language pleasure reading to adult immigrants. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810834187
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/1998
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
5.79(w) x 8.85(h) x 0.86(d)

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