A Socio-Cultural Conception of Literacy Practices in African American Families

Authored by: Kristin M. Scott , Jeffrey M. Brown , Esther Jean-Baptiste , Oscar A. Barbarin

Handbook of Family Literacy

Print publication date:  April  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415884570
eBook ISBN: 9780203841495
Adobe ISBN: 9781136899126


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Some of the most influential ideas about children’s development of early literacy attribute a critical role to families (e.g., see Dickinson & Tabors, 1991; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Stevenson & Baker, 1987; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). Nowhere have these ideas gained more traction than among professionals concerned about literacy development in children from impoverished families who tend to lag behind economically advantaged children in the skills considered foundational to competent reading. It is not surprising then that reading researchers and professionals look to family life as a venue for strengthening development of reading competence, especially among children who are at risk for experiencing later difficulties in reading. This is most certainly the case for African American families whose children are disproportionately represented among those who are disadvantaged by poverty.

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