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Learning to Be Literate: More Than a Single Story

Learning to Be Literate: More Than a Single Story

Current price: $36.95
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
W. W. Norton & Company
The MIT Press Bookstore
1 on hand, as of Apr 23 10:14am
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There is not one right way to teach a child to read.

Recent media stories about education have featured the “Science of Reading,” whose proponents typically present the systematic teaching of phonics as a one-size-fits-all method that guarantees reading success for all students. But as literacy scholars Patricia Paugh and Deborah MacPhee demonstrate, the decoding of words is only one of many skills that are central to an effective early literacy education.

In Learning to Be Literate, they present a four-part framework for active literacy learning that eschews oppositional arguments about different approaches, and instead situates children as meaning makers: the whole point of being literate. There is no single or simple solution that will fit every child. But by using the ALL framework to inform instruction, educators can help young learners think deeply about ideas and language at the same time as they learn to work out the sounds and symbol systems of language.

About the Author

Deborah MacPhee is a professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, where she teaches literacy methods courses for undergraduates and directs the Mary and Jean Borg Center for Reading and Literacy. Deborah’s research critically examines discourses of literacy coaching and professional development school interactions and metaphors used in media portrayals of the science of reading. Her work has been published in several academic and professional journals, including Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, The International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, School-University Partnerships, and The New Educator.

Deborah is a former first and second grade teacher who currently assesses and tutors students who experience difficulty learning to read. She was co-editor of the NCTE journal Talking Points from 2013-2019 and president of LLA (NCTE group Literacies and Languages for All) from 2019-2021.

Learn more about Deborah's work at Follow her on Twitter at @DeborahMacPhee. 

Patricia Paugh is a professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she teaches literacy methods courses and is graduate program director for elementary education. Her work has been published in academic and professional journals including: Language Arts, Journal of Literacy Research, Reading Research Quarterly, Literacy Researcher: Theory, Method, Practice, and Teaching Education. She has also published three co-edited volumes focused on literacy learning: Teaching Toward Democracy with Post-modern and Popular Culture TextsA Classroom Teacher’s Guide to Struggling Writers, and A Classroom Teacher’s Guide to Struggling Readers

Pat brings an extensive background as a first-grade teacher and elementary reading specialist to her current practice as a teacher educator in a public university and as an advocate for teachers’ professionalism. She also currently serves as co-editor for Talking Points, a journal of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Learn more about her work at Follow her on Twitter @peep1250. 

Praise for Learning to Be Literate: More Than a Single Story

Paugh and MacPhee draw on the best of reading scholarship to share what we know about teaching young children to read, write, and become literate citizens. This text is filled with real-life strategies and teaching scenarios for everything from phonemic awareness to critical literacy.
— Catherine Compton-Lilly, John C. Hungerpiller Professor, University of South Carolina–Columbia

What stands out is the respect Paugh and MacPhee show for children as competent learners and teachers as knowledgeable professionals. This text will be an invaluable addition to any primary teacher’s professional library.
— Curt Dudley-Marling, professor emeritus, Boston College

An antidote to the venom surrounding the historical and contemporary debates around reading and literacy instruction. Paugh and MacPhee’s organizing framework challenges us to think beyond simple views.
— C. Patrick Proctor, professor, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College

With the resurgence of the ‘reading wars,’ including false dichotomies of phonics and meaning-based literacy instruction, the time for this book is now. A must-read for new and experienced teachers alike!
— Lara J. Handsfield, PhD, professor of elementary literacy and bilingual education, Illinois State University

A timely and long overdue book that strikes a perfect balance between theories of literacy learning and practical classroom applications.
— Bobbie Kabuto, PhD, interim dean, School of Education, Queens College, City University of New York

[A] much-needed, clearly articulated, and highly accessible response to the prevailing but, to some, disturbing narrative about what it takes to become a truly confident, proficient reader…. Its embrace of a complex, or multidimensional, view of reading serves as a powerful antidote to a simple, or purportedly scientific, view of reading that places phonics at the center of early literacy instruction…. [A] refreshing must-read for teachers, teacher educators, parents, and others concerned with children’s language learning and literacy development.
— Teachers College Record