Chapter 3How Reading Happens

It was an August day in 2007 when one of us (Lisa) had the pleasure and heartbreak of walking her first-born daughter to her first day of kindergarten. The walls of the school—Mount Vernon Community, a public school in Alexandria, Virginia—were draped in primary colors, the linoleum floor was lemony clean, and the classroom was teeming with little kids and their parents seeking out their individually labeled desks and cubbies. Pieces of furniture were marked with laminated cards of single words (door, window, bookshelf) in Spanish and English. After some cajoling, the parents reluctantly withdrew, and the teacher motioned the children to sit on the rug facing her. She sat in a plastic chair, held a book in her ...

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