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Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance: Poverty, Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital [Kindle Edition]

Susan B. Neuman , Donna C. Celano
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is a compelling, eye-opening portrait of two communities in Philadelphia with drastically different economic resources. Over the course of their10-year investigation, the authors of this important new work came to understand that this disparity between affluence and poverty has created a knowledge gap--far more important than mere achievement scores--with serious implications for students' economic prosperity and social mobility. At the heart of this knowledge gap is the limited ability of students from poor communities to develop information capital. This moving book takes you into the communities in question to meet the students and their families, and by doing so provides powerful insights into the role that literacy can play in giving low-income students a fighting chance.


Important reading for a wide audience of educators, policymakers, school reformers, and community activists, Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance:



  • Documents how inequalities begin early and are reinforced by geographic concentration.

  • Compares community libraries to see how print is used in each neighborhood and how children develop as young readers.

  • Looks at patterns that create radical differences in experiences and attitudes toward learning prior to entering school.

  • Explores the function of technology as a tool that exacerbates the divide between affluent students and those with limited access to information.

  • Provides a comprehensive analysis of community literacy, documenting the transformation of media habits from books to computers.

  • Concludes with a look inside schools to answer questions about what schools can do to overcome this complex, unequal playing field.


Susan B. Neuman is a professor of Educational Studies at the University of Michigan, and has served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.Her books include Changing the Odds for Children at Risk. Donna C. Celano is assistant professor of Communication at La Salle University in Philadelphia.


Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance depicts a stark reality: the enormous and growing divide in literacy and reading skill development between children growing up in poverty and children from the middle and upper classes—and the social and economic ramifications. This book should be required reading, not just for those in the education and policy fields, but for anyone who cares about the lives of children and the health of our society.”

Kyle Zimmer, President and CEO, First Book


“‘By walking the streets, riding the buses, and taking the subways,’ Celano and Neuman give us a groundbreaking and sobering look at print and education technology resources in two neighborhoods, one wealthy and one poor. The result is a must-read eye-opener for anyone who cares about equal opportunity. The stuff of learning is essential but insufficient. Only with close teacher, parent, and student-to-student coaching can better print and technology resources make a difference.”

Eugenia Kemble, Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute


“The authors of this text make you CARE about these communities and children. They provide insights about how we must focus on literacy in order to make a real difference in the lives of students. This is one of the most comprehensive analyses to date of community literacy, documenting the transformation of media habits from books to computers.”

Linda B. Gambrell, Distinguished Professor of Education, Clemson University



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan B. Neuman is a professor of Educational Studies at the University of Michigan, and has served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. Her books include Changing the Odds for Children at Risk. Visit Professor Neuman's blog at: givingpoorkidsafightingchance.blogspot.com. Donna C. Celano is assistant professor of Communication at La Salle University in Philadelphia.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1573 KB
  • Print Length: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (April 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CLCSKTI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,964 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! October 8, 2013
Format:Paperback
A friend who had taken a class from Professor Celano at LaSalle recommended this book to me--I have always been interested in the way literacy can effect the lives of younger generations. Most recently, I have been doing a lot of after-school community service work with local elementary and preschools, and this book could not be more relevant to my work in that area. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic, I thoroughly enjoyed the authors' accounts and observations. A must read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it: Liked it. October 8, 2013
Format:Paperback
I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in information capital. It is timely and well written.

Its one of those books you are assigned for class but don't want to sell back after the semester!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative, Easy Read October 8, 2013
Format:Paperback
This book does a great job at addressing hot topic issues such as the poverty cycle, child development and the future of eduction.

Excellent read, doesn't get stale, relevant, and keeps you interested the whole way through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Students August 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had to read this book for one of my reading dual license classes. I thought it was a really good book for the class. I actually learned a lot more than what I thought I was going to learn. It's a super easy read, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good October 15, 2013
Format:Paperback
Got this assigned for a class and was pretty good. It's not exactly up my alley, but I enjoyed it. If this is something you're interested in reading, you should buy it.
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