Literacy in the Welcoming Classroom by JoBeth Allen

Well, if the idea to encourage teachers to grade parents (catches on, Jo Beth Allen offers idea about what to do with parents once we grab their attention. The answer isn’t related to making cupcakes or chaperoning fieldtrips, it’s about being an active partner in children’s literacy learning. Allen asks how we make engaging with families a priority so that we can help improve students’ literacy practices. Each chapter includes activities along with a helpful Read to Learn section, a brief annotated bibliography. Though her audience is K-5, some of the activities could be adapted for an older audience. For example, students of all ages (and their parents) can read literature written in dialects and discuss the author’s decisions; use photography to share aspects of family and community; share family funds of knowledge; and discuss, study, and debate social issues.

Allen also includes relevant research such as the six graders turned hiphopographers who studied and wrote about hip hop culture from Samy Alim’s work; “Tell me about your child” prompt from Betty Shockley, Barbara Michalove, et al.; and Alfred Tatum’s notion of including must-read texts.

Disclosure: I do know the author, but I got the book from the National Writing Project because I am a site director. Allen does not know I have the book and she doesn’t know I blogged about it. I wanted to read it because my students say they often feel unprepared to work with parents.