An alarmingly high number of American students continue to lack proficiency in reading, math, and science. The various attempts to address this problem have all too often resulted in silver bullet solutions such as reducing class size or implementing voucher programs. But as the authors of this critically important book show, improving literacy also requires an understanding of complex and interrelated social issues that shape a childs learning. More than twenty years of research demonstrate that literacy success is determined by a combination of sociocultural forces including parenting, preschool, classroom instruction, and other factors that have a direct impact on a childs development.Here, Frederick J. Morrison, Heather J. Bachman, and Carol McDonald Connor present the most up-to-date research on the diverse factors that relate to a childs literacy development from preschool through early elementary school. Urging greater emphasis on the immediate sources of influence on children, the authors warn against simple, single solutions that ignore other pivotal aspects of the problem. In a concluding chapter, the authors propose seven specific recommendations for improving literacyrecommendations that can make a real difference in American education.