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Other People's Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy Paperback – April 24, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0674645110 ISBN-10: 0674645111 Edition: Reprint

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Other People's Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy + Early Intervention for Reading Difficulties: The Interactive Strategies Approach (Solving Problems in the Teaching of Literacy) + Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (April 24, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674645111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674645110
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

An engaging book that makes a unique contribution to literacy research by offering answers to the 'why's' of low literacy...[It] graphically portrays the ways in which the mainstream society and the educational system effectively exclude [the illiterate]...Other People's Words is a highly readable and richly layered exploration of literacy learning. As qualitative research, it accomplishes what no empirical study can--it transcends the subjects of the study, making vast connections to the functions and effects of literacy practice in lives of adults, children, families, schools, and communities. (Lynn Sampson Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy)

A powerful depiction of the literacy learning process. (Doris Bergen Readings)

This two-year case study of the author's work with one family is situated within a more general concern for families whom the educational system seems to be failing...Replacing a predominant deficit view of low socio-economic status minority populations, the author adopts a sociocultural view of learning and an emergent literacy perspective in this detailed account of the acquisition of literacy and the relationship between print and culture. Engagingly written and widely referenced, this is a useful book for anyone considering the nature of family literacy and the interface of literacy learning and cultural experiences, including teachers, students and parents. (National Literacy Trust's 1997 Bibliography)

About the Author

Victoria Purcell-Gates is Canada Research Chair in Early Childhood Literacy at the University of British Columbia.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Purcell-Gates avoids the weighty conventions of academic writing and thus opens her studies and insights to the larger world. The book recounts her experiences over two years tutoring a completely illiterate mother and her nearly equally illiterate son. Purcell-Gates, who at the time worked at the local university and literacy center, tells their story with compassion and a strong effort to get at the causes and perpetuation of illiteracy in 20th century American cities, schools, and families. Hers is a noble cause and this is a superb and educational book. She serves her subjects well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly VINE VOICE on October 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having just finished the book for my Foundations of Literacy class in college I must say it gives a very good view of the life and struggles a family goes thorugh when in their world print does not exist.

Jenny and Donny, a mother and son have struggle for a few years on gaining literacy. Jenny, an urban Applalacian wants to learn to read so she can help her son with his schoolwork. She wants Donny to be retained a year so he can "catch up" on what he is missing. Together they embark on a quest towards literacy with the help of the author of this book.

When a book is required for school most of us will probably groan but I must say this was one of the most interesting books I have read. Considering my major is early childhood education and I am interested in topics about emergent literacy. Anyways the book really explores the life of those who live in non-print homes and must rely on others when it comes to reading/writing. I also liked how it introduced us to the urban Applalacian minority and how they are a "invisible minority." We learn about the stereotypes they are given, the values they hold, etc.

All in all the book was particulary interesting. I wouldn't reccommend it for pleasure reading unless of course you are VERY interested in topics about literacy but for those of you who need to read it for school do not fret! It is an easy and very interesting read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pamela D. on January 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. it was required reading for a master's level class that I took. It was so interesting that it's earned a place on my permanent bookshelf (I usually trade in my texts). This is the story of a mother and child learning to read and becoming literate. It is poignant, true, and very touching. These are real people, and it's not only interesting but gratifying to read their story. There are many examples reproduced, and the presentation is educational and emotional. I found myself "cheering" for the mother and the son as they pursue a dream that most of us take for granted, literacy. The author did an excellent job of documenting this real life story.
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Format: Paperback
Purcell-Gates opens up the important issue of literacy in America through the lens of an Appalachian mother and son, who have a non-literary background. Through the son and mother's attempts to learn how to read and write, we get a glimpse into the cultural background of the Appalachian people. Perhaps the book's most compelling findings are the stereotypical attitudes people have towards this white minority people. It is clear that many people need to spend time and understand the cultural background of people, and not just pass uninformed judgments upon them. This book is an important voice in the educational debates about how to approach learning in our public schools.
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By HairJunkie330 on February 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent book on the low literacy levels of certain populations. It is a well written and easy to read narrative. A great buy!
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By Juanita Rodgers on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book Other people's Words, very informative and I learned so much from the book about literacy and poverty- of course it set me on a course to do more research. It was not only educational but a very enjoyable read. Great book.
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