I love to read. I can’t imagine being without to enjoy a book, not being able to read. I have taught children to read for most of my career… I am still learning and improving my knowledge. Most recently I’ve been doing research on culture influences in reading development. This is NOT to say that culture determines reading.
I remember listening to Theresa Perry on a TV interview show. She warned that because the research suggests (one of my professors once told me that research never proves anything…it suggests, it demonstrates, it shows, but does not prove) children from low-income families come to school with lower vocabulary and concepts of print skills than children from middle class families. What she said next was the interesting piece: she warned that that does not mean that children from low-income families couldn’t learn to read. Yet, many who read this research make just that interpretation. We need to be careful when we interpret research.
Expectations about whether a child will learn to read are so important. If the kind of research reported above effects your expectations about a population of children, it will affect whether they learn to read. Literacy for all means just that. All children should be held to high standards; our expectations for children should not be compromised by the misinterpretation of research or our own, sometimes identified or admitted, prejudices about people.