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Directions given to children were most often commands, like, “Hush, now,” or “Put

on your coat,” rather than the indirect slatements (“it's time to be quiet now") or even
pseudo-questions ("Don't you think you should put on your coat now?") through
which commands are often “softened" in middle-class envtronments. Trackton adults
also did not tend to ask children the kinds of “school-type" questions that are so
common in middle-class homes, questions that are really invitations for children
to display their knowledge, such as “Where is your nose?" or “What color is your
hear?" Instead, they asked children real questions, questions to which they did not
know the answers, such as. “What do you want to drink?," and open-ended questions
calling for analogical thinking, such as, "What’s that like (pointing at a neighbor's flat
tire)?" Questions such as, “What was at your Uncle Jake's?" could also be
an invitation to "perform" for an appreciative audience, to tell a story or joke, often
with dramatic exaggeration or humor. Although such open-ended, divergent
questions can he good for language and cognitive development, Trackton children did
not know how to interpret teachers' more convergent questions in school. They
also did not know how to interpret the "softer” directives (“Wouldn't you like to
hang up your coat?") that teachers used in classroom management. As a result,
they often appeared to be less cooperative and capahle, and frequently failed to do
well in school. They were not, in truth, less competent; they just didn’t understand
the language patterns (typically white middle-class) being used in the classroom.
Other researchers have found similar effects for children from many other non-
mainstream cultural groups in this country, including Native Americans (Philips,
1972), Hawaiians (Au, 1980), and Hispanic Americans (Moll et al., 1992).

HOME LITERACY FACTORS THAT IMPACT


EARLY READING DEVELOPMENT

Beyond the general language and cognitive development discussed so far, children's
development of actual reading skills also begins in the home, through a
myriad of resources and activities that are directly reading-related and which offer
children opportunities to:

1. become familiar with literacy materials,

2. observe the literacy activities of others,

3. independently explore literate behaviors,

4. engage in joint reading and writing activities with other people, and
5. benefit from the teaching strategies that family members use when engag-
ing in joint literacy tasks (DeBaryshe, Binder, & Buell, 2000, pp, 119-120).

Access to Written Materials and Adult Modeling

Scholars and teachers have long known that children whose homes are full of books,
especially children’s books. usually learn to read nuii’ifm hooks, In faq
“ill Wili better [him their PW“ “’l‘“ ‘l" “m have “5 (Ni “trim {or International
In a recent :inirlysis using darn from 42 countries in Hit: 13‘" ‘1'umd that Students
Student Assessment (PISA), Evans, Kelly, and Sikoru (73,14) ( the combi ed
whose families owned more hooks scored significantly high” \jlrif the Counttr‘i
reading scale This effect held rrue ovcrull and also in every 0‘“ fir warents’ ed“
measured, both advanced and developing, even after ctintrollllnliihgmlc library he:
cation and occupation and family wealth, ln fact. th‘ size Milli. n Y of these othe
a stronger relationship to student reading achievement than [L a y 1*
home factors. -
Books, of course, are not all that matters: children Unc““‘¥‘“‘ a vanety 0f
other literate materials at home, including maguzlnca. newspapers. Journals, letters,
and board games (Taylor & Dorsey'Crnincs, 1988; Teale, 1986)~ PFCSChOOl
Chlldmfi
with greater exposure to print overall tend to better understand the purposes and
functions of written text. Simply by living and participating in home contexts that
included people reading books and magazines, reading the TV Guide for program
information, and reading the rules for a board game, young children could begin
to construct knowledge about written language and how it works (Purcell—Gates,
1996, p, 423) However, Purcell—Gates and others have also found that children
gain much more when, rather than just observing, they are directly involved with

their parents in reading—related activities (Burgess, Hccht, St Lonigan, 2002), and


by far the best studied of these is shared hook reading,