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>A PATH TO FOLLOW: Learning To Listen to Parents.

A PATH TO FOLLOW: Learning To Listen to Parents. P. A. Edwards, H. M. Pleasants, & S. H. Franklin. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999. 112 pp. $14.00 paper. A Path To Follow suggests that parent stories can be a highly effective, collaborative tool for gaining knowledge that may not be obvious, yet is obviously beneficial. The book uses case study examples to walk the reader through specific steps for collecting, and using, parent stories for classroom practice.

The research on home literacy environments tends to be highly subjective, as it revolves around the researcher's observations, descriptions, assumptions, and interpretations. Researchers often use preset guidelines to define emergent literacy practices. Here, the authors explain how open-ended interviews and conversations with parents elicit their descriptions, interpretations, and perspectives regarding traditional and nontraditional early literacy activities in the home.

Parent stories allow teachers to examine specific issues, problems, and strengths of homes that influence students' literacy development. This concept presents a shift from previous approaches. The authors believe that if teachers start using parent stories at the beginning of the year and continue throughout the year, they can help promote children's early learning experiences.

The authors provide specific guidelines for initiating conversations with parents that will elicit parent stories. A specific example of how one teacher responded to questions is followed by an exercise to help teachers get started, using a questionnaire consisting of 50 questions in 11 categories. Case studies and suggestions for collecting and interpreting stories guide the reader to make sense of parent stories and generate instructional ideas. A Path To Follow can empower parents by offering them opportunities to participate in a personally meaningful way. Reviewed by Sureshrani Paintal, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL
COPYRIGHT 2001 Association for Childhood Education International
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Paintal, Sureshrani
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2001
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