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Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know [Paperback]

E. D Hirsch , Joseph F. Kett , James S. Trefil
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: £9.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 1988 0394758439 978-0394758435 1st Vintage Books ed
In this forceful manifesto, Hirsch argues that children in the U.S. are being deprived of the basic knowledge that would enable them to function in contemporary society. Includes 5,000 essential facts to know.

Frequently Bought Together

Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know + The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children + Seven Myths About Education
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Product details

  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (1 May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394758439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394758435
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.3 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
This book explains why we need to make some very specific educational changes in order to achieve a higher level of national literacy. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting worthwhile read 11 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Interesting insights into how people learn to read. Hirsch makes the case that reading is not just skill but requires some content to provide context and make reading more efficient (and enjoyable). Also intriquing is the idea of defining the reading context in terms of a national literacy. (A good way to appreciate these issues is to try to learn a foreign language enough to understand the media of a foreign country.)
The controversial stuff comes from the rejection of the Rousseau/Dewey teaching doctrine, and the proposal for a national standard for teaching content knowledge in primary and secondary school. Hirsch claims that it is teaching doctine, rather than parenting, that is behind the lack of literacy in American children. This was not so convincing as he cites data that indicate that children who spent more time studying do better at reading. It is clear that Hirsch is embroiled in quite an educator doctrine controversy.
In any case, the list at the end of the book was a hoot, and I was pleased to find that I knew what most things were and had at least heard of everything else. It would have been nice if the list could have come with reference information but then the book would have been several times larger (maybe someone should come up with a web site devoted to the list). Running down items in the list has been a lot of fun and I still look at the list from time to time when I feel the need to expand my cultural literacy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The mind can only hold a small number of items in short term memory. Thoughts must be compressed and routed into long term memory or forgotten. Some of the destinations and compression schemes are, for literate people, taken from the shared culture. This book is a dictonary of that shared cullture. This material should be on-line in some way. I wish the authors had e-mail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a future educator it is very important to familiarize oneself with various educational theories and this is one that definitely should be included one's repetoire. The concept of cultural literacy is very controversial in many ways, but it is well worth the discussion that it inspires. This book is bound to evoke a strong response from its readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth the read, also check out the Dictionary 23 April 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Worth the read, some interesting ideas to chew on. Someone mentioned in a review about putting the stuff in the list online. Well, there is a book by the Hirsch called "The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy" which might be a nice compliment to any classroom, I have one in my 3rd grade class.
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