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Beginning Literacy with Language
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About the Author

After 5 years of experience teaching in elementary schools in the Philadelphia area, David K. Dickinson, Ed.D., attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education and then served as Director of Teacher Education at the Child Study Department at Tufts University and joined the Education Department at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he received tenure. He moved to the Education Development Center (EDC) in 1994 to join the team that developed the Early Childhood Generalist certificate for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In 1995 he established the New England Research Center on Head Start Quality, which examined the impact of Head Start on children's language and literacy development and on families, with special attention to the development of children whose first language is Spanish. He and Catherine Snow received the initial funding that launched the Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development in 1987, and he directed the school portion of the study during the preschool years. Drawing on early results from this study, he and colleagues at EDC developed the Literacy Environment Enrichment Project, an approach to helping preschool teachers and their supervisors adopt more effective practices to support children's language and literacy. He and others at EDC are developing and researching a version of this program that will be delivered using the Internet in combination with interactive television. His work has been published in numerous articles, and he has edited two other books, Bridges to Literacy: Children, Families and Schools (Blackwell, 1994) and Handbook of Early Literacy Research (co-edited with Susan Neuman, Guilford Press, 2001). He and Miriam W. Smith are co-authors (with Angela Sangeorge & Louisa Anastasopoulos) of the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation Toolkit, Research Edition (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2002), a set of tools for evaluating the quality of literacy support in early childhood classrooms. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1981, Patton O. Tabors was an elementary school teacher and a childbirth educator. During her doctoral studies she focused on first and second language acquisition in young children. Her qualifying paper and dissertation research, based on 2 years of ethnographic investigation in a nursery school classroom, described the developmental pathway of a group of young children learning English as a second language. She was able to use this information as the basis for the material in One Child, Two Languages: A Guide for Preschool Educators of Children Learning English as a Second Language (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 1997). Since 1987, Dr. Tabors has been the research coordinator of the Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development in collaboration with Catherine Snow and David Dickinson. During this time she has also directed research related to low-education and low-income mothers reading to their preschool-age children as part of the Manpower Development Research Corporation evaluations of two welfare-to-work projects, New Chance and JOBS, and for the Harvard Language Diversity Project, a subproject of the New England Research Center on Head Start Quality, directed by David Dickinson. Dr. Tabors's latest research, a longitudinal project that is following the language and literacy development of Spanish-speaking children from preschool to second grade, combines her interests in early language and literacy development and second language acquisition in young children.

Reviews

"a crucial contribution to our understanding of young children and the importance of language in building literacy capabilities" "a report on new and groundbreaking research on language and literacy development that will inform policymakers and researchers...an excellent resource" "Pay attention to the title! Beginning Literacy with Language is the bottom-line message of this longitudinal research on the language and literacy development of Head Start children all the way from preschool through 7th grade. Rich oral language opportunities matter a lot, at home and maybe even more at school. An encouraging and inspiring account of how schools, in early childhood and beyond, can make a difference." --Courtney Cazden "Pay attention to the title! "Beginning Literacy with Language" is the bottom-line message of this longitudinal research on the language and literacy development of Head Start children all the way from preschool through 7th grade. Rich oral language opportunities matter a lot, at home and maybe even more at school. An encouraging and inspiring account of how schools, in early childhood and beyond, can make a difference." --Courtney Cazden "Vivid descriptions and thoughtful explanations of language development in young children. The book has great value to social scientists studying this enticing field. It also conveys a valuable message to parents and early childhood educators that their everyday interactions with small children form the abilities they will need to achieve literacy as they progress through formal schooling." --Edward Zigler, Ph.D. (06/08/2006)

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