This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
M Cecil Smith Northern Illinois University
October 26, 2000
Presented at 2000 meeting of the Alpha Delta chapter of Alpha Upsilon Alpha (Honor Society of the International Reading Association), Oak Brook, IL.
Worry about adult literacy Why K-12 Educators Should Worry About Adult Literacy Educators in public schools at every grade level from elementary to high school have plenty of things to be concerned about, from episodes of student violence to the implementation and consequences of high stakes testing. Given the increasing demands
of their jobs, why should they worry about adult literacy? After all, public school teachers are not teaching adult learners, and they can’t be held accountable if adults have failed to acquire the literacy skills needed to function effectively in our society. Or can they? It can be argued that adults who have poor literacy skills are, in many cases, products of our public schools. If these individuals haven’t learned to read, write, and use math in ways that enable them to get and keep good jobs, get off welfare, support their families, communicate effectively with others, conduct personal business and so on, then some would suggest that the blame lies squarely in the laps of teachers and schools (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). Such blaming tactics, of course, conveniently ignore the fact that many lowliterate adults in the United States are immigrants who could neither speak nor read English when they came to this country (Kirsch, Jungeblut, Jenkins, & Kolstad, 1993). Some of these limited-English-proficient persons also could not read or write in their native language. Also, many low literate adults are elderly and were in school decades before recent educational reforms in instruction, teacher training, and the like took place, and during a time when low educational attainment (by today’s standards) was commonplace. Still other adults have significant organic and learning disabilities, chronic illnesses, and other problems that have impeded their abilities to acquire and use literacy (Vogel, 1998).
Worry about adult literacy
Despite these salient characteristics of low-literate adults, adult literacy is (at least in some quarters) perceived to be a “problem” in the United States. This perception is based largely on periodic claims by business and industry leaders, and the occasional social commentator, that the literacy skills of a sizeable portion of adults in the labor force are not sufficient to meets the demands of a rapidly-changing, highly-technological, and information-saturated workplace (Fiske, 1988). The results of the 1993 National Adult Literacy Survey (Kirsch et al., 1993) also found that nearly half of adults ages 16 and older demonstrated significant problems with some literacy tasks, such as interpreting a bus schedule or finding information in a brief news magazine article. Given the collective power of both anecdotal and empirical evidence of an adult literacy problem, there are efforts to locate the sources of this problem. For some, particularly those who are critical of public education, one source is the lack of “correct” and effective literacy instruction in school. Over the past decade or more, educators, literacy researchers, politicians, and the public have been embroiled in the most recent round of the “reading wars,” that have pitted at least two groups of literacy advocates against one another (Coles, 2000; Fletcher & Lyon, 1998; Foorman, Francis, Fletcher, Schatschneider, & Mehta, 1998; Goodman, 1998). On one side are those who advocate a return to “basics” in reading, with a focus on phonics instruction, skill development in word decoding, and phonemic awareness (Grossen, 1997). On the other side are those who promote the kind of reading instruction where students are immersed in all aspects of language—reading, speaking, writing, and listening (Goodman, 1998). This is the whole language method, whereby literacy skills are said to develop naturally whenever the right environmental conditions exist. More
Worry about adult literacy recently, a third perspective has emerged calling for a balance in reading instruction
between phonics and whole language emphases (McIntyre & Pressley, 1996). If trying to negotiate the battle lines among these combatants weren’t enough, K-12 educators have been indirectly, yet implicitly, linked to the apparent widespread failure of many adults to acquire literacy (Coulson, 1999). The National Education Goals Panel has indicated, as one of its eight goals for the education of the citizenry, that “every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in the social, emotional, and academic growth of children” (n.d., n.p.). Low literate adults are less likely, however, to be included as partners in accomplishing this education goal either through neglect, self-selection, or ignorance on the part of educators about how to involve them in the process. While there are clearly significant roles for parents at every level of literacy ability in the education of their children, there are also important parts for public education to play in adult literacy. The first role is to help low literate parents to understand how they are critical players in their children’s educational attainment and achievement. Another is to complement and support those who work directly with adult learners, rather than by providing direct services and instruction. Clearly, however, K-12 educators must first become cognizant of the issues that are pertinent to adult literacy. This point is important because, despite some (not much) rhetoric to the contrary, adult literacy is a not-much-discussed educational topic. I would like to suggest, then, five inter-related reasons why K-12 educators should be knowledgeable and concerned about the state of adult literacy today.
Worry about adult literacy Adults who struggle with literacy are likely to have children who will struggle with literacy.
In 1985, the national report Becoming A Nation of Readers called upon parents to “monitor their children’s progress in school, become involved in school programs, support homework, buy their children books or take them to libraries, [and] encourage reading as a free time activity” (p. 117). This statement explicitly recognizes the importance that home and parenting factors have in influencing children’s reading achievement (Baker, Sher, & Mackler, 1997). Parents serve as literacy role models for their children long before the children enter school by reading to them, reading themselves (and thereby demonstrating the importance of reading), and making literacy materials available to their children (Hiebert, 1981; Teale, 1986). We know, for example, that young children whose parents read to them tend to become better readers and do better in school (Anglum, Bell, & Roubinek, 1990; Feitelson & Goldstein, 1986; Goldfield & Snow, 1984). Once children enter school, then parents need to be involved and to communicate with them (and their teachers) about their schoolwork and activities. Evidence suggests, however, that whenever parents are unable to model literacy and reinforce the literacy practices of their children, these children often struggle to acquire school literacy. Fortunately, even adults whose reading, writing, and math skills are very poor are usually able to engage in some literacy-related interactions. Several ethnographic studies have shown these interactions to be adaptive for particular aspects of literacy development (Heath, 1984; Taylor, 1985; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988). These interactions include behaviors such as asking questions to get specific information, storytelling, and family discussions of daily events. Thus, we shouldn’t assume that
Worry about adult literacy children whose caregivers can’t read, can’t read well, or don’t like to read, are lacking in opportunities for literacy (Taylor & Dorsey-Gains, 1988). Some parents may not, however, recognize the value of these behaviors for promoting their children’s literacy. Also, the learning opportunities that some children have may not be of sufficient quality or in line with the literacy experiences they need, or will be exposed to, in school. Not every child of low-literate parents or caregivers will have literacy problems,
of course. Those parents who value education and learning will do the things necessary to help their children acquire literacy despite their own lack of literacy and related academic skills. To the extent possible, teachers need to be aware of, and sensitive to, parents’ literacy difficulties, and offer assistance and support to them whenever possible. For example, teachers can send home materials that can be understood and used by low literate adults, such as audiotapes and videos. Teachers can emphasize to parents how important it is to demonstrate and explain to children how to do things. Schools can also provide information to parents about local literacy education programs for adults. Family literacy educators, and school reading specialists, can be a good source of information for teachers and can help them develop strategies to assist low-literate parents. These strategies can include not just recommendations to read to their children, but also brief instruction in how to read to them. That, is, parents may need to learn that they should direct their child’s attention to the story, to ask their child questions about the story, and to label or describe pictures. Some parents will need help in knowing what kinds of questions to ask. As Patricia Edwards (1995) and other family literacy educators have pointed out, teachers should not assume that parents possess this knowledge. It is interesting to note that there is very little literature advocating that family literacy, early
Worry about adult literacy childhood, and primary grades educators’ should collaborate in regards to these literacy learning strategies (but see Project FLAME; Shanahan, Mulhern, & Rodriguez-Brown, 1995). Despite this, there is some evidence that literacy gains are most robust in those programs where comprehensive services are offered to parents and children (RodriguezBrown, 1998). Some recent federal legislation may have the effect of mandating these comprehensive services for students and parents in the near future. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Literacy Involves Families Together (LIFT) Act.
The intent of this legislation is to improve and expand family literacy services by, in part, allowing Even Start Family Literacy programs to serve children older than age 8 if schools use Title I funds to pay a portion of the costs. Thus, public schools may come to have a greater direct service role in family literacy. The Senate must, however, approve the LIFT Act before it can be enacted into law.
Parents with low literacy are less able to help with their children’s school work, get involved in school activities, and communicate with their children’s teachers. I remember being astounded, when my oldest child first began school, at the sheer amount of print information that was sent home from school in his backpack. There were school newsletters, notes from the teacher, homework assignment books, PTA announcements, Market Day order forms, notices of upcoming events and cancellations, head lice alerts from the school nurse, school policies and student rules of conduct, and quite frequently, homework to be completed. I often think about how distressing and discouraging it must be for limited-English-proficient parents and other parents who
Worry about adult literacy don’t read it well to try to sort through all of this text. It has to be a helpless feeling to know that there is some important information in there, but to struggle to understand it. Some parents, out of pride or shame, may be reluctant to ask their children to read these notices and announcements to them (and, of course, their children may struggle to read these materials themselves). Such circumstances leave them dependent upon others--
friends, neighbors, adult family members--to interpret and communicate text information. These parents may not get a lot of important information about their children’s schooling when they need it. Of course, we need to also avoid making assumptions that such “dependence” upon others is necessarily a bad thing. In many cultural groups, there are often exchanges of skills and information among group members that are adaptive, and do not convey dependence upon others, but cooperation (Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988). Low-literate parents often can’t provide the kind of assistance and support that their children need to do their homework. Certainly, all parents have experienced this at one time or another. For example, those science or trigonometry problems that your high school child brings home may be the same ones that you couldn’t do back in your own high school days. But low-literate parents are faced with this problem much of the time. Low literacy is often an invisible problem and some people go to great lengths to hide their inability to read and write. Such parents may not come to parent-teacher conferences for fear that they’ll be asked to read their child’s work or sign a form. They are less likely to become involved in school activities, to volunteer as a room parent, or to call their child’s teacher when they have a question or concern. Also many of these parents may be working two or more jobs and can’t come to school even during the early morning or evening hours.
Worry about adult literacy It is easy to view uninvolved parents as unconcerned and uncaring. But, aside from lacking the time to visit their children’s schools, some parents may simply believe that they lack the skills and knowledge to be of any help. Other parents see teachers as
the experts and are unlikely to get involved in what they see as the teachers’ roles (Flores, Taft, & Diaz, 1991). It is critical for teachers to reach out to these parents and to bring them into the school and classroom in a variety of ways. For example, several years ago, Luis Moll (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992), an educational anthropologist, conducted a project in which low-literate Spanish-speaking parents were utilized as cultural resources, sharing “funds of knowledge” that they possessed about a variety of topics such as auto repair. A helpful strategy might be to develop closer connections between schools and neighborhoods through “community educators.” These persons would be knowledgeable about both the schools and the communities in which they live and work and could facilitate activities between parents, schools, teachers, and social services groups. Some schools, of course, now have family-school liaisons. Their role is to function as a resource “go-between” for schools and students who are identified as “at risk” for academic failure and whose families are described as “in need” of school support. Although there has been little evaluation of the effectiveness of these liaisons, perhaps their numbers and functions could be increased so that more students and families are served. The goals of such programs should be to bring parents, students, and teachers together in mutually-supportive ways that benefit everyone. Teachers can then become cognizant of parents’ literacy difficulties, as well as the skills and knowledge that they
Worry about adult literacy have, and parents can learn how to better support and reinforce teachers’ instructional activities.
Adults with low literacy skills are more likely to have difficulty navigating the health care system, to read and understand medical instructions and, as a consequence, their children’s health is likely to be affected. The connection between children’s health and their learning and academic achievement should be obvious. To maintain their children’s health (as well as their own), parents need access to health-related information and services. Only recently, however, have health care professionals recognized the problem of low “health literacy” among adults. Health literacy is defined as the ability to read and comprehend basic concepts and tasks necessary to function in the healthcare system. A landmark study of health literacy conducted in Atlanta and Los Angeles in the mid-1990s found that nearly half of emergency care patients could not read instructions on prescription medicines and were unable to explain how to take these medicines. More than one in four adults could not determine when their follow-up appointment was scheduled by looking at their appointment slip (Williams, Parker, Baker, Parikh, Pitkin, Coates, & Nurss, 1995). What these data suggest, of course, is that children of low-literate parents may not be getting the full benefits of the health care system and, in fact, may often not receive appropriate care if their parents can’t read medical instructions. Therefore, children of parents with low literacy are more likely to have untreated and/or chronic health problems, to come to school with illnesses, and to miss more days of school due to illness or staying at home caring for a sick relative. The problem for teachers is obvious:
Worry about adult literacy
children who come to school ill disrupt instructional time and students who miss school when they are sick miss valuable time for learning. The physical and psychological challenges to the health of students in the general population are numerous, and include chronic illnesses, physical and emotional disabilities, infectious diseases, teen pregnancy, depression and suicide, child abuse, substance abuse, and behavioral disorders. Some of these health threats have increased in recent years among school-aged children and youth (New York State Nurses’ Association, 2000). Compounded by parents’ low literacy, student health is clearly an issue where parents and schools (and the larger community) need to work together. Fortunately, there are numerous efforts in this regard. More than 75% of schools have a required course in health education to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to adopt healthy lifestyles (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1998). But, what about the parents of these students? Do these health education courses have any benefits to them? Data from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (1998) show that parents are involved in required health education courses in several ways. Half of all schools send home to parents health-related educational materials, such newsletters on health topics. More than four out of 10 schools invite parents to attend health education classes or health fairs. Fully 25% of schools offer health programs for parents. These are encouraging data, but they beg the following questions: Are low-literate parents benefiting from these outreach efforts? What is the readability level of the print materials that are sent home to parents? How many parents attend health fairs and health education classes offered in their children’s schools? Teachers and health educators need to develop
Worry about adult literacy strategies to ensure that parents not only receive these materials and programs, but can actually use and benefit from them.
Adults who can’t read and write well are much less likely than good readers and writers to vote and participate in other civic activities. Thomas Jefferson wrote that “[t]he only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty is to educate and inform the whole mass of the people” (1787). Clearly, we have a long ways to go before we can be assured that all members of our society are satisfactorily educated and informed about issues of concern to the greater community. Political scientist Benjamin Barber notes that “where democracy and education intersect is the point we call community” (1992, p. 225). Low-literate adults appear to be not full members of this community as they are somewhat less likely to participate in our democracy. Data from the National Adult Literacy Survey show that only 55% of adults who scored at the lowest skill level reported having voted in a recent state or national election. On the other hand, nearly nine out of 10 adults who scored at the highest skill level reported having done so. Low-literate adults are less likely, therefore, to vote for school referenda, school board members, and political leaders who are supportive of public education. (Although, in fairness, it must be pointed out that trends in civic participation are declining across the board, regardless of literacy ability; Putnam, 2000). Slightly more than one-third of adults who are in the lowest skill level read the newspaper every day. One in five report, however, that they never read the paper. Thus, low literate adults may be less likely to keep up on political events and the social issues
Worry about adult literacy
relevant to education (although other information-gathering avenues may be available to them, such as TV, radio, and family and social networks). Marginalized adults don’t write letters to the editor of the local newspaper to express their views, and they aren’t likely to write their state and congressional representatives about public education issues. But, of those low-literate adults who do read the paper, more than 90% read the main news and editorial pages, suggesting that they are attuned to local and national events that may impact their lives and their children’s well-being. These events include, of course, discussion and debate on educational topics, such as teacher pay, high stakes testing, and technology integration.
Adults who have not acquired the literacy skills to function successfully in work, in their personal lives and families, and in the community, reflect upon the quality of public education. It may be an unfair judgment of our public educational system, but this fact remains: to the extent that students reach adulthood and still lack “adequate” literacy, teachers and schools will bear the blame (Kaul, 1993; Kilpatrick, 1983). Many low literate adults are products (or castoffs) of the public education system. Given the widespread and deeply entrenched belief that literacy is a set of discrete skills that can be taught to students, it will remain an expectation that teachers should be able to teach these skills. It is simply a matter of finding the right mix of instruction, teacher skill, and student motivation and aptitude, isn’t it (Foorman, Fletcher, & Francis, 1998)? Here’s a lengthy quote from a web site advocating phonics instruction:
Worry about adult literacy Students in a true…phonics program do not start out by "reading" but rather by learning individual letters. Students learn how to recognize and discriminate among a small, manageable number of symbols. This implicitly teaches the
logical concept of identity…students learn that there is a symbol "a" and that "a" can be easily distinguished from "b" or "m" or "x"…In well-designed phonics programs, children are first taught to associate only one sound with a particular letter. This implicitly teaches the concept of analogy…As students progress through the letters, they discover that some letters are mirror-images of each other ("b" and "d", for example). Thus they learn the concept of graphic symmetry, and to distinguish symmetrical objects from one another (Ziffer, 2000, n.p.).
Leaving aside the questionable claim implied in the above quote that phonics instruction helps to impart the skills of logical reasoning, we know that literacy is more than simply mastering a set of individual skills that can be readily transported from one situation to another. Other perspectives on literacy have emerged in recent years to challenge the skills perspective. Some view literacy as tasks, that is, literacy is used to accomplish specific tasks in everyday life and for work. This approach concentrates on how literacy is applied to get things done, and suggests that the cognitive processes of literacy and the knowledge one has about literacy are inseparable components of being literate. Another view is that literacy consists of practices, which vary across different settings. So, the literacy tasks (and associated skills) that are essential in one situation may be irrelevant in another situation.
Worry about adult literacy It is the practice perspective that can be most useful to teachers who work with low-literate parents. One especially perceptive view of literacy practices suggests that
adults often spontaneously acquire literacy in response to perceived needs that they have for literacy in their lives (Reder, 1994). According to Stephen Reder (1994), individuals often participate in collaborative literacy practices in diverse ways. Some people may be technologically engaged in that they have proficient reading and writing skills. Others may be functionally engaged in literacy in that they have specialized knowledge or expertise within some domain that they can use or share with others, but they lack the “technical” skills of reading and writing. A stereotypical example is the “shade tree” mechanic who is functionally illiterate, but can repair any kind of automobile. Yet other adults may be socially engaged in literacy by participating with those who are technologically and functionally engaged and by approving and supporting their practices and activities. Here’s a simple example of social engagement in a somewhat different domain. A small business owner wants to have a web site so that customers can order products on-line. The business owner lacks the technological knowledge about writing and reading HTML code. Further, s/he lacks the functional knowledge needed to create such a web site. S/he can, however, support and encourage the literacy of those who have the requisite technical and functional knowledge to develop the web site. When teachers understand the different ways that people engage in literacy, they are then better equipped to help those parents who lack the technical skills of reading and writing recognize and appreciate their functional and social literacy engagements. Parents, in turn, learn how these forms of literacy are beneficial to their children. Two things are thereby accomplished. First, powerful lines of communication between parents
Worry about adult literacy and teachers and parents and children are opened in regards to learning, schooling and
achievement. Second, teachers, parents, and students learn to value and to take advantage of the range of literacy practices that are present in their homes and communities.
What Can Public School Teachers Do to Promote Adult Literacy? As educators, we cannot ignore the fact that there are millions of adults whose literacy prevents them from full participation in society. We need to be very careful, however, in assuming that low literacy causes unemployment, poverty and dependence on welfare, crime and delinquency, poor health, and lack of interest and involvement in civic affairs. Remember: low literacy often doesn’t even cause school failure, as there are many anecdotes (and empirical data) showing that many high school graduates have literacy problems. Certainly, there are myriad factors that, in complex patterns of interaction with one another, contribute to the social problems I’ve listed above. On the other hand, we can assume that literacy can go a long ways toward helping to alleviate (but probably not eliminate) some of these social and educational ills. Public school educators must be attuned to and concerned about the conditions of adult literacy because these largely determine the conditions of youth literacy. It is not a stunning observation to note that public school teachers are burdened with many responsibilities and roles, from instructor and caretaker to counselor and to resource expert. Why should we then expect teachers to address some of the problems and issues pertinent to adult literacy? Because it is in the best interests of their students and of themselves to do so. Expecting teachers to tutor or instruct low-literate adults to improve their literacy skills, however, is neither appropriate or realistic. This is a personal
Worry about adult literacy decision on the individual teacher’s part, rather than a professional obligation. Nonetheless, there are some actions that should be initiated to help teachers deal with some of the problems they encounter when working with parents who are low-literate. First, changes are needed in pre-professional teacher training. Undergraduate teacher education candidates must become more cognizant of social problems, such as low literacy, chronic unemployment, and poverty, that tend to become invisible during
“good” economic times, such as those we are currently experiencing. Preservice teachers should spend a semester in an adult or family literacy internship. Practicing teachers might also do this as part of their re-certification activity, or as a requirement in a masters degree program. The purpose is not, of course, to push these teachers into careers in adult literacy education. Rather, the goal is to directly acquaint future and current public school teachers with parents who struggle with literacy, and to give them a first-hand look at how adults learn literacy and how parents and children negotiate literacy learning. Rarely do teachers directly witness this from their classrooms. Such internships will also provide opportunities for public school and adult literacy educators to work together. Second, we need closer alliances among public schools, adult education agencies, and social services providers. This might be as simple as having practitioners in each field talk to one another about what they do. A much greater level of complexity involves interagency cooperation. For example, in Missouri, Project LIFT is a collaboration of statewide agencies, public schools and universities, and organizations in adult education, early childhood education, social services, and volunteer literacy groups that have come together to strengthen and expand family literacy in our neighboring state.
Worry about adult literacy Third, classroom teachers and their schools must increase their efforts to bring parents into schools and classrooms so that these parents can share what they know and do. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that public elementary schools do not include parents in school decision-making to a great extent. Only 28 percent of schools with a high poverty concentration, for example, report high parent
attendance at activities such as open houses. Nearly half of all schools indicate that lack of staff training in working with parents is a significant barrier to parent participation. Parent involvement can be increased, however. This can be accomplished, at least in part, through minor modifications in existing programs and activities. For example, when my youngest son was in elementary school, the school sponsored a community reading night in which parents and other adults came to the school and read stories to students. By why not also have some parents talking about and demonstrating their skills and knowledge in different activities and domains? Describing and “showing how” are also skills that are essential to literacy. Efforts should be made to include parents and others who can demonstrate a range of skills and interests, from needlework to dog grooming to computer repair. Fourth, secondary education teachers also have an important role to play in adult literacy. High school teachers, in particular, can create activities and assignments where they and their students work with and tutor adults in high school equivalency degree programs. Rather than being an extracurricular service project, such activities could be a part of the curriculum in, for example, language arts, social studies, or health education. Political scientist Benjamin Barber (1992) has described a model of democratic education that is based on community service. Here, community is brought into the school and the
Worry about adult literacy school is brought into the community. When students become engaged in community service activities such as literacy tutoring, they learn about the nature of differences between themselves and others (e.g., “literate,” versus “not literate”), and how these differences impact life and lives in their communities. Abstract problems such as illiteracy and poverty become concrete, real, and immediate to students.
Until we begin to recognize and acknowledge the very real connections that exist between public education and adult literacy, none of these suggestions will ever be considered and adopted, however. Public school educators should worry about adult literacy, for the reasons I’ve described. They cannot, however, solve the problems of adult literacy nor should teachers bear the responsibility for doing so. Educators must understand what they can do and, working with others in the community and in the schools, take action to affect changes that benefit parents and their children.
For copy of paper: http://www.cedu.niu.edu/~smith/alphadelta.html
Worry about adult literacy References Anglum, B.S., Bell, M.L., & Roubinek, D.L. (1990). Prediction of elementary student reading achievement from specific home environment variables. Reading Improvement, 27, 173-184. Baker, L., Sher, D., & Mackler, K. (1997). Home and family influences on motivations for reading. Educational Psychologist, 32, 69-82.
Barber, B.R. (1992). An aristocracy of everyone: The politics of education and the future of America. New York: Oxford University Press. Coles, G. (2000). Misreading reading: The bad science that hurts children. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Coulson, A. (1999, April 7). Are public schools hazardous to public education? Education Week, 18(30), 36, 40. Edwards, P.A. (1995). Combining parents’ and teachers’ thoughts about storybook reading at home and school. In L.M. Morrow (Ed.), Family literacy: connections in schools and communities (pp. 54-69). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Feitelson, D., & Goldstein, Z. (1986). Patterns of book ownership and reading to young children in Israeli school-oriented and non-school-oriented families. Reading Teacher, 39, 924-930. Fiske, E.B. (1988, September 9). Policy to fight adult illiteracy urged. The New York Times, 12.
Worry about adult literacy Fletcher, J.M., & Lyon, G.R.(1998). Reading: A research-based approach. In W.M. Evers (Ed.), What’s gone wrong in America’s classrooms (pp. 49-90). Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.
Flores, B., Taft, R., & Diaz, C. (1991) Transforming deficit myths about learning, language and culture. Language Arts, 68, 369-379.. Foorman, B.R. Fletcher, J.M., & Francis, D.J. (1998). Preventing reading failure by ensuring effective reading instruction. In S. Patton & M. Holmes (Eds.), The keys to literacy (pp. 29-39). Washington, DC: Council for Basic Education. Foorman, B.R., Francis, D.J., Fletcher, J.M., Schatschneider, C., & Mehta, P. (1998). The role of instruction in learning to read: Preventing reading failure in at-risk childrne. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 37-55. Goldfield, B.A., & Snow, C. (1984). Reading books with children: The mechanics of parental influence on children’s reading achievement. In J. Flood (Ed.), Promoting reading comprehension (pp. 204-215). Newark, DE: International Reading Assocation. Goodman, K. (1998). In defense of good teaching. York, ME: Stenhouse. Grossen, B. (1997). Thirty years of research: What we know about how children learn to read. A synthesis of research on reading from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Santa Cruz, CA: The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. [On-line: http://www.cftl.org.] Heath, S.B. (1984). Ways with words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hiebert, E.H. (1981). Developmental patterns and interrelationships of preschool children’s print awareness. Reading Research Quarterly, 16, 236-259. Jefferson, T. (1787). Notes on Virginia.
Worry about adult literacy
Kaul, D. (1993, November). Even our best students come up woefully short. Des Moines Register. Kilpatrick, J.J. (1983, July). The crisis in our schools. The Nation’s Business, 5. Kirsch, I.S., Jungeblut, A., Kolstad, A., & Jenkins, L. (1993). Adult literacy in America: A first look at the National Adult Literacy Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. McIntyre, M.E., & Pressley, M. (Eds.). (1996). Balanced instruction: Strategies and skills in whole language. Norwood, CA: Christopher-Gordon. Moll, L., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31, 132-141. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Education (1998, September 11). Characteristics of health education among secondary schools: School health education profiles, 1996. [On line: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dash/mmwrfile/ss4704.htm]. National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983). Becoming a nation of readers. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education. New York State Nurses Association (2000, July 5). Position statement on school health nursing. [On-line: http://www.nysna.org/pga/nps/position/position20.htm]. Putnam, R.D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Worry about adult literacy Reder, S. (1994). Practice-engagement theory: A sociocultural approach to
literacy across languages and cultures. In B.M. Ferdman, R.M. Weber, & A.G. Ramirez (Eds.), Literacy across languages and cultures (pp. 33-74). Albany: SUNY Press. Rodriguez-Brown, F.V., & Meehan, M.A. (1998). Family literacy and adult education: Project FLAME. In M C. Smith (Ed.). Literacy for the 21st century:Research, policy, practices and the National Adult Literacy Survey (pp. 175-193). Westport, CT: Praeger. Shanahan, T., Mulhern, M., & Rodriguez-Brown, F.V. (1995). Project FLAME: Lessons learned from a family literacy program for the Latino community. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Atlanta. Taylor, D. (1985). Family literacy: Children learning to read and write. Exeter, NH: Heinemann. Taylor, D., & Dorsey-Gaines, C. (1988). Growing up literate. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Teale, W.H. (1986). Home background and young children’s literacy development. In W.H. Teale & E. Sulzby (Ed.), Emergent literacy: Writing and reading (pp. 173-206). Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Vogel, S. (1998). Adults with learning disabilities: What learning disabilities specialists, adult literacy educators, and other service providers want and need to know. In S. Vogel & S. Reder (Eds.), Learning disabilities, literacy, and adult education (pp. 528). Baltimore: P.H. Brooks.
Worry about adult literacy Williams, M.V., Parker, R.M., Baker, D.W., Parikh, N.S., Pitkin, K., Coates,
W.C., & Nurss, J.R. (1995). Inadequate functional health literacy among patients at two public hospitals. Journal of the American Medical Association, 274(21), 1677-1682. Ziffer, D. (2000, September 14). How phonics instruction teaches critical thinking skills phonics: Critics are confused. [On-line: http://projectpro.com/ICR/Phonics/CriticalThinking.htm].