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The CURA publications library is currently being digitized by the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. When the project is complete, the entire CURA publications library will be online and fully searchable. Unfortunately, during this process we are not able to honor individual requests for publications . Additionally, we no longer have physical copies of publications to send out.

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Reading Achievement in an Urban School: Collaboration for Reform.

Ginsburg-Block, Marika and Susan Watts-Taffe.

According to a 2000 U.S. Department of Education report, 37% of fourth-grade students have not yet mastered the basic skills of reading. Although this represents an increase in performance from previous years, African American and Latino/Latina students continue to lag behind their White and Asian peers; students attending central-city schools have lower average readings scores then their counterparts in rural or suburban schools; and students who are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program have lower average reading scores than students who are not eligible for the program. Although observers have identified many assumed causes for reading failure, the premise of this article is that collaboration across and within systems of learning--including among students, teachers, families, and community members--is the key factor in increasing literacy achievement. Using the Jordan Park School of Extended Learning (SOEL) as a case study in collaboration, the authors worked collaboratively with educators at the school to document, evaluate, and enhance the school's literacy program. Based on their research, the authors identified three unique features of SOEL's literacy program: the breadth of instructional experiences provided for students, the use of child study as a catalyst for instructional improvement, and community connections that foster student development. The authors conclude by noting a number of challenges and successes experienced by participants in the collaborative literacy program at SOEL and by participants in the collaborative research process that produced this article, and identify several key lessons from their experience.

CURA Reporter
Publication date: 
Minneapolis: Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota.
Supported by a grant from CURA's Program for Interactive Research.
32 (4): 15-21.
Online availability
Download from CURA: 
CURA call number: 
Reporter 32 (4)

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