Literacy is one of the most highly valued cultural resources of contemporary American society, yet far too many children in the nation's cities leave school without becoming sufficiently literate. This book reports the results of a five-year longitudinal study in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, tracing literacy development from pre-kindergarten through third-grade for a sample of children from low and middle income families of European and African heritage. The authors examined the intimate culture of each child's home, defined by a confluence of parental beliefs, recurrent activities, and interactive processes, in relation to children's literacy competencies. Also examined were teacher beliefs and practices, and connections between home and school. With its broad-based consideration of the contexts of early literacy development, the book makes an important contribution to understanding how best to facilitate attainment of literacy for children from diverse backgrounds.