It has been well established that schools and families must work together to ensure academic and literacy success for all children. Educators understand the importance of creating a learning connection between families and schools. Families provide teachers with increased knowledge of students. Teachers also recognize the importance of building on the learning events occurring in students' homes and communities. However, in practice, partnerships are not easily established. Often teachers are not prepared to effectively reach out to families nor are families and schools prepared to effectively work together. There are many constraints in forming home-school partnerships and the added challenges of creating partnerships with families of children struggling with literacy development are even more difficult. Often teachers and families find themselves on opposite sides, facing similar challenges, looking for a way to connect. Families of children struggling to acquire literacy skills are often faced with many challenges other families never experience. For teachers, trying to reach out to these families and form partnerships is equally challenging. Bridges enable connections to be made between people and ideas and allow passage from one side to another. This book describes five principles to guide teachers in working with families of struggling readers. With examples from the field, tools to put into practice, and extensive resources lists, teachers will expand their understanding of family engagement. This book is an important resource for pre-service and in-service teachers who are eager to engage more sensitively and effectively with families, particularly those whose children have struggled with literacy.
Jennifer Tuten, Associate Professor, Literacy Education at Hunter College, CUNY steaches courses in literacy assessment and intervention and children's literature. She also leads professional development initiatives for teachers in New York City schools.
Deborah Ann Jensen, retired from the Graduate Literacy Program at Hunter College, CUNY, was the founder of their two semester tutoring program for struggling readers. She is now a literacy consultant to afterschool programs in New York City.
Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, Professor of Literacy Education at Westminster College, PA., teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy learning, family-school partnerships and children's literature.