This book consists of the reports of 13 urban elementary teacher researchers' year-long inquiries around literacy topics--conducted as part of a collaborative school-university action research project. The focus is on how they attempted to transform their teaching practices to meet the needs of students from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and how their inquiry efforts resulted in developing more collaborative styles of teaching. These teachers explore how collaborative classroom interactions occur when teachers move away from teaching-as-transmission approaches to ones in which they share power and authority with their students--viewing them not as 'at risk' but instead as 'at promise.'
Because the everyday interactions between teachers and students are realized by social talk in the classroom, classroom discourse was analyzed to study and document the teacher researchers' efforts to make changes in the locus of power in literacy teaching and learning. Their chapters are filled with classroom discourse examples to illustrate their points.
The volume includes teacher inquiries conducted in elementary classrooms from kindergarten through eighth grade. Three took place in bilingual classrooms, one in a special education class. These inquires cover a range of literacy topics, including reading-aloud, language richness, writing, literature discussion groups, drama, and 'pretend' reading.
The background and theoretical underpinnings of the project are discussed in an introduction written by the editors; in the conclusion they pull together the major themes in the teacher researchers' chapters and discuss the political implications of their efforts to change literacy teaching and learning in their urban classrooms.