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TELLING A DIFFERENT STORY: Teaching and Literacy in an Urban Preschool.

TELLING A DIFFERENT STORY: Teaching and Literacy in an Urban Preschool. Catherine Wilson. New York: Teachers College Press, 2000. 105pp. $18.95. The size of this book leads the reader to assume that it will be a quick and easy read. In reality, this small text addresses complex issues surrounding the process of literacy learning in one inner-city preschool. The work, which is based on the author's doctoral dissertation, documents the seven months Wilson spent as a participant observer in a Head Start classroom serving children who were primarily African American and from low socioeconomic level homes.

Wilson introduces readers to Sara and Jorene, the two Head Start teachers, and then details the classroom's physical space, curriculum, and program policies and procedures. The literacy environment places a special emphasis on story reading.

Wilson uses critical theory to show how literacy practices assume meaning in a preschool classroom. She offers insight about the teachers' thoughts as they ponder and struggle with day-to-day decisions about practice in their unique environment. Through the ample use of anecdotes and teacher dialogue, Wilson helps the reader see how emergent literacy practice looks different in varying social and economic contexts. One begins to understand how, contrary to what is widely believed in the field, appropriate practice may not be as easily prescribed across contexts.

Intended for teachers and teacher educators, this book also is ideal for upper-division college and graduate courses dealing with literacy and social issues in education. While it can be a quick read, appreciating the complexity of the issues addressed takes thoughtful and perhaps multiple readings. Reviewed by Kathie Reid, Assistant Professor of Child and Family Sciences, California State University at Fresno.
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:Reid, Kathie
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 2001
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