Reading Crisis / Edition 1

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Overview

How severe is the literacy gap in our schools? Why does the nine-year-old child from a culturally disadvantaged background so often fall victim to the fourth-grade slump? Although the cognitive abilities of these "children at risk" may be consistent with the norm, their literacy development lags far behind that of other children. In The Reading Crisis, the renowned reading specialist Jeanne Chall and her colleagues examine the causes of this disparity and suggest some remedies.

Using Chall's widely applied model of reading development, the authors examine the strengths and weaknesses in the reading, writing, and language development of children from low-income families in an attempt to identify the onset of their difficulties. They show how, in the transition from learning the medium to understanding the message, the demands on children's reading skills become significantly more complex. The crucial point is fourth grade, when students confront texts containing unfamiliar words and ideas that are beyond the range of their own experience. According to Chall's findings, the lack of specific literacy skills--not cognitive factors--explains the deceleration in the reading and writing development of low-income children. The authors outline an active role for the schools in remedying weaknesses in literacy development, and give suggestions for the home and the community. Their recommendations address both practical issues in instruction and the teacher-student dynamic that fosters literacy development.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Of the children from low socioeconomic environments studied in this lucid work, most were reading at or above standard norms in the second and third grades. This skill deteriorated beginning with grade four; by grades six and seven children from the lower classes typically tested below the level of reading ability necessary for comprehending texts to learn other subjects. Observations, interviews, questionnaires, and ethnographic field work took place in home and school; research results led to specific recommendations to teachers, administrators, teacher trainers, and book publishers for programs/behaviors/tools to salvage these youngsters' capabilities. An important study for wide academic and professional attention.-- Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll . of Technology, Alfred
Booknews
Using Chall's widely applied model of reading development, the authors examine the strengths and weaknesses in the reading, writing, and language development of children from low-income families in an attempt to identify the onset of their difficulties, and to outline an active role for schools, with additional suggestions for home and community. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674748859
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 691,614
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

1. Literacy and Language among Low-Income Children

2. The Children, Their Schools, and Their Families

3. Reading Development

4. Writing Development

5. Language Development

6. Interrelations among Reading, Writing, and Language

7. Classroom Instruction and Literacy Environments

8. Home Influences on Literacy and Language

9. Influences on the Lower and Higher Grades

10. Where Do We Go from Here?

Epilogue: Persistent Questions

Appendix A: Samples of Narrative Writing Representing Average Holistic Ratings and Production: Students' Handwriting

Appendix B: Samples of Expository Writing Representing Average Holistic Ratings and Production: Students' Handwriting

References

Index

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