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Staff Book Recommendations: Kasia Razynska

Kasia Razynska

November is National Literacy Month! To celebrate, we asked our staff to recommend their favorite equity books. Here’s what they said…

by Kasia Razynska
Director of Evaluations, MAEC

This book recommendation dates me. I had to read this book at the beginning of my grad program. It was the first of four books we were required to read, and I found myself totally changing my classes to stats courses because of this book. I wasn’t really a quantitative or research person when I picked up this book – and this research book changed that for me. [Note: Kasia is our Director of Evaluations.]

 The book I recommend is titled Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children, written by Betty Hart and Todd Risley. It highlights pivotal research from the 1990s: researchers identified 42 children from low SES and high SES backgrounds, and recorded their conversations with their families for one hour a day each month for 2.5 years. At the end of the data-gathering, the researchers analyzed how many words each family spoke. The study found that children from lower SES backgrounds arrive at kindergarten hearing 30 million words fewer on average than children from higher SES backgrounds. While this finding affected me greatly, it sticks with me because it was also the first study that I read and was like, “Wow.” Before this book, I would skip the methodology section to get to the findings – but this book was so well-written that I found even the research design section fascinating.

The MAEC blog is designed to engage hearts and minds of school and district leaders across the country to engage in issues that you have identified as being essential in education. Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

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