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Framework for Understanding Poverty [Paperback]

by Ruby K. Payne
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)


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Book Description

October 15, 2003 1929229143 978-1929229147 3rd
A Framework for Understanding Poverty teaches the hidden rules of economic class and spreads the message that, despite the obstacles poverty can create in all types of interaction, there are specific strategies for overcoming them. Through case studies, personal stories and observations that produce some aha! moments, Payne clearly strikes a chord in her readers., and provides a hopeful message.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Ruby Payne, speaker, author and CEO of aha! Process, a training/publishing company, has more than 30 years of experience in public education and staff development. Payne is best known for her work on "hidden rules of economic class" and their affect on learning. She says, "I never want to hear again, that poor children can't learn!"

Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Aha Process Inc; 3rd edition (October 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929229143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929229147
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. of Baytown, Texas has been a professional educator since 1972. She has been a secondary-school teacher and department chairperson, an elementary-school principal, a consultant, and a central-office administrator. The lessons learned during these years are the bedrock on which aha! Process, Inc. has been built.

Her first book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, is a powerful tool for educators to use when teaching children from poverty. She has led hundreds of workshops and has worked with several thousand teachers and administrators, both nationally and internationally. Ruby Payne founded aha! Process, Inc. (formerly RFT Publishing Co.) in 1996 and serves as its president. In that capacity, she continues to consult and write.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
167 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So useful! A "must read" for educators! January 26, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As an educator, I found Dr. Payne's book to be one of the most useful and practical books I've ever read. Just as the title reads, she offers a framework for understanding an issue that is influencing not only our schools but also our society. Her definition of poverty as related to the eight resources she describes rather than being solely defined by one's lack of finances is especially helpful for educators. In addition, Dr. Payne offers concrete strategies for working with some of our most misunderstood students. I found her explanation of the registers of language and issues surrounding them to be particularly useful in understanding some of the problems in schools today that are related to both cognition and behavior. I highly recommend this book for educators and believe also that anyone who works with individuals from poverty will also find it helpful. It makes so much sense!
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87 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must" read for teachers who teach children in poverty September 7, 1998
Format:Paperback
I teach in an inner-city school where poverty is prevalent in almost every family. Not until I read Ruby Payne's book did I have an understanding of the differences involved when one teaches a child who is living in poverty. The book gives specific case studies that make you think and relate to poverty-stricken people. It then goes even further and gives the teacher examples of how to use the new knowledge in the classroom. It is, without a doubt, the best book I have ever read on the subject of poverty and how it relates to school children. I learned more from the reading of this book about how to relate to the students I teach than I have from any other book I've ever read about any subject. I have no reservations whatsoever in recommending this book to any teacher who truly wants to understand the individuals she/he teaches.
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89 of 103 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Dr. Payne has authored a book that is intended to provide a framework for teachers or others who work with poor children to help them better understand and deal with the issues their behaviors present in the classroom. A major caveat for potential purchasers, however, is that this book is remarkably free of content supported by peer-reviewed empirical findings. It is more like a fragmented collection of chapters supporting the contention that a poverty culture produces children unlikely to succeed in the classroom or later as adults. It seems to be in use as companion reading material for the author's widely-held seminars on the subject. It is also authored by her own publishing company, Aha! Process, Inc.

While the literature predating the War on Poverty was replete with studies suggesting causal factors such as those espoused by Payne, some of the more recent empirically-referenced literature such as Rebecca Blank's, "It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty," Princeton University Press/Russell Sage Foundation, 1997, takes a more balanced approach. That approach examines both the cultural as well as structural aspects of poverty and their impact on populations at risk, particularly damaging to women, children, and persons of color. Changing flawed character in the classroom is an uphill battle without understanding the structural factors that impact on adaptive behavior among the poor.

The egregious stereotyping of people in Chapter 3 pertaining to "Hidden Rules Among Classes" seems to stem from what the author characterizes as personal data-gathering over a twenty-four year period as a teacher employed in varying socio-economic school districts. Should generalizations based on an N of 1 truly be accepted as truth?
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74 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A Framework for Understanding Poverty provides a structure on which to build one's teaching. The way we teach is as important as what we teach, for , as Payne makes quite clear, we will not reach all children until we can understand--and accept--their backgrounds and any accompanying privileges or limitations children carry with them to the middle-class mindset of most American schools. As a high school English teacher, I found Chapter 2, "The Role of Language and Story", quite helpful--in fact, it has changed the way I approach writing in the classroom. Even if you have read bits of this information elsewhere, the author has gathered much relevant research in an easy-to-access format that any harried teacher can appreciate. For those teachers who balk at recognizing and/or accomodating behaviors related to class, I ask them to take the "Could you Survive in Poverty" quiz on page 53. I don't have any idea how to "get and use food stamps" or "how to get by without a car"--do you? I'd love to see a companion manual to this one that lists books for students that address class differences, either fiction or nonfiction.
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61 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must reading for educators. December 4, 1998
Format:Paperback
Dr. Payne's book is essential reading for educators. Those who supervise people in the workplace who have roots in poverty would also benefit greatly from reading this book. It will affect the way in which you manage people. Dr. Payne makes all of us accutely aware of our own roots, our own middle class values and mindsets. A Framework for Understanding Poverty should become a part of every school's professional library. It will change the way in which you teach and discipline children from poverty. Our knowledge of children from poverty, and our skills in working with children from poverty must increase. Having worked as a teacher and administrator for 32 years, I have seen the impact of poverty on our schools firsthand. The growth rate for this segment of our population demands that we begin to look seriously at how we as educators interface with children from poverty. As members of a democratic society, we literally cannot afford not to attend to the issues related to poverty. Reading Dr. Payne's book will put you on the right path for your journey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for everyone
When one understands that poverty is more than a monetary issue, one can start understanding how to truly effect change.
Published 5 days ago by Sandra Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT
This is an invaluable book for people in the fields of education, psychology, social work. law, or any other that deals with the public. Read more
Published 26 days ago by patti
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book
I read this while attending college for my teaching certificate, and was blown away by the truths revealed to me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Erin Wilhite
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for School Teachers
what an amazing book that explains from the very beginning how poverty has an effect on making decisions and why they are made....definitely worth reading... Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. Reid Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Money
Having worked for years with poor people in a variety of contexts I can say that this book is fabulous. Dr. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
Written in an easy-to-read style this book was extremely informative and insightful. I feel this would help anybody working with children in all situations to better understand the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rose Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book!
This book is extremely easy to read and carries a message everyone should have. If I could afford it, I would send a copy to everyone in Congress and the White House. Read more
Published 6 months ago by drfiddler1
4.0 out of 5 stars Learned a lot!
This book is written for educators. However, anyone (like me) who deals with children who live in generational poverty will learn from this book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lulu
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading
Should be required reading for any professional or ANYONE who works with the public: teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, counselors, social workers, priests, nuns & laity... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Charlotte Kramer
5.0 out of 5 stars Framework for Understanding Poverty
Years ago I had to read this for a class I took. Not only was it excellent reading, but it helped me understand the motivations of some of my poorest families. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Geri D. Hagler
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Be Aware!
A basic information-finding skill that every child should be taught in school is "Where do you get your information?" Ruby should follow suit.
Dec 5, 2006 by Cathy |  See all 6 posts
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