Literacy in America: Historic Journey and Contemporary Solutions

Overview

This book is the first comprehensive history of how the American people achieved varying degrees of literacy from early colonial times to the modern era. The authors demonstrate that literacy education is not synonymous with schooling. By focusing on people rather than statistics, including literacy among women and minority groups, they explore the literacy agents, methods, and materials used at different times and places throughout the history of the country.

The authors define...

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Overview

This book is the first comprehensive history of how the American people achieved varying degrees of literacy from early colonial times to the modern era. The authors demonstrate that literacy education is not synonymous with schooling. By focusing on people rather than statistics, including literacy among women and minority groups, they explore the literacy agents, methods, and materials used at different times and places throughout the history of the country.

The authors define literacy as the degree of interaction with written text that enables individuals to be productive members of their societies. Family literacy is essential to awakening the personal responsibility and motivation necessary for children to develop a love of reading. This effort requires more intensive collaboration procedures between the home and the school, some of which are detailed here. Based largely on primary materials, this historical survey reveals important lessons from the past that can be applied to achieve higher levels of 21st- century literacy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Gordons really know how to tell stories. Readers will appreciate how they reconstruct the lives of teachers over two centuries, largely in settings outside formal schooling. Scholars and students of the roles of women in the history of education will find a wonderful archive of material….In their areas of emphasis, and in the book's readability, scholarship, and ease of use as a reference tool, the Gordons succeeded admirably."

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History of Education Quarterly/Teachfirst, Inc.

"[A] comprehensive history told in first-hand accounts of the rise of literacy in the United States."

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Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy

"From the evolution of public school down through the centuries, to pioneer educators, to conflicts over Native American and African American education, ^ILiteracy In America^R is a scholarly, informative, and reflectively thoughtful history. No definitive Education History or American History reference collection can be considered complete without the inclusion of ^ILiteracy In America^R."

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The Midwest Book Review

"This well-researched history of literacy in the US extends from Colonial New England to the 21st century….Highly recommended. All levels."

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Choice

"The only comprehensive history of American literacy from 1620 to the present."

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Library Journal, Starred Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275955243
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/30/2002
  • Pages: 354
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

EDWARD E. GORDON is President of the Imperial Consulting Corporation. He has also taught for 20 years at three Chicago-area universities: DePaul, Loyola, and Northwestern. He is the author of many articles and 12 other books, including Closing the Literacy Gap (1991), Futurework (1994), Enhancing Learning (1998), and Skills Wars (2000).

ELAINE H. GORDON is the Vice-President for Research of the Imperial Consulting Corporation. She is the co-author with Edward E. Gordon of Centuries of Tutoring: A History of Alternative Education in Western Europe and America (1990).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Foreword
Introduction
Pt. I Literacy and Religion in Colonial America (1620-1789) 1
1 A Light in the Forest: Colonial New England 3
2 From "Dukes" to "Friends": Literacy in the Middle Atlantic Colonies 37
3 "Old Field Schools" and Tidewater Tutors: The Southern Colonies 55
Pt. II Literacy in the Young Republic (1790-1860) 79
4 Literacy in Transition: The Northeast 81
5 "Lay the Cornerstone More Firmly": The Antebellum South 117
Pt. III Literacy and the Frontier Experience (1790-1900) 139
6 "Jack of All Trades, Master of Some": Pioneer Educators of the Midwest 141
7 "An Eternity Job": Riding the Literacy Circuit on the Western Frontier 165
Pt. IV Literacy Outside the Mainstream (1620-1900) 191
8 Literacy as a Mission: Native Americans 193
9 Contraband Education: The Struggle for African-American Literacy 227
Pt. V Literacy in the Modern Age (1870-) 261
10 Literacy for Everyone? 263
Conclusion: The Lessons of Literacy for Today and Tomorrow 295
Bibliography 305
Index 319
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