“Phenomenologically, Donny and Timmy were not growing up in a literate environment. Although they lived in a home situation in a city situated in a country that contained many forms and functions for print, they did not experience it. They did not notice it around them; they did not understand its uses. Their world functioned without written language” (Purcell-Gates, 1997, p. 58).
Donny attended Head Start for one year then went to first grade. At that time, kindergarten was not required. It would probably have been beneficial for Danny to attend kindergarten, but, since his parents couldn’t read and nobody told him about it they had no clue. It’s obvious that the importance of early intervention wasn’t recognized as much in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. As of 2014, only 16 states required kindergarten attendance (U.S. Department of Education, 2014).
For a literate family, literacy begins in the home when parents read to their child and have books in the home. Reading aloud to children is a very important part of early literacy because it “encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life” (Reach Out and Read, 2015). Both of Jenny’s parents could read but they didn’t graduate high school or teach their children the importance of literacy (Purcell-Gates, 1997, p. 166).
“The teachers felt that the culture, as a whole, did not value education, that the parents did not know how to parent, and that the parents did not instill a desire for success” (Purcell-Gates, 1997, p. 37).
I know there are some teachers out there who believe this way, that if the family doesn’t care, then why should they care so much? I know this because I 've heard teachers say it...
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...vested in their lives. By now, Donny and Timmy probably have children of their own and I’m curious to know whether their children are able to read. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of urban Appalachians. This book taught me to always think about my students’ parents from my point of view and what would I want if I were a parent of one of my students. I’m glad Purcell-Gates decided to take a chance with Jenny, because she didn’t have to. This book shows that teachers can break the cycle of low literacy. Purcell-Gates mentions that “we are ready, at least on some levels, to reinvent our schools to achieve higher levels of attainment for all of our children” (Purcell-Gates, 1997, p. 190). Education has changed a lot since she wrote this book. I wonder if her views have changed or if she feels that schools are doing a much better job of meeting all students.
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