What Are Preschoolers Thinking?

What Are Preschoolers Thinking? Insights from Early Learners’ Misunderstandings

Judith A. Schickedanz, Molly F. Collins, and Catherine Marchant
paper, 296 Pages
Pub. Date: June 2022
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-738-1
Price: $38.00

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Pub. Date: June 2022
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-739-8

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What Are Preschoolers Thinking? dispels common misconceptions about the cognitive abilities of preschoolers and demonstrates how effective early instruction can help eradicate achievement gaps.


A fascinating read, What Are Preschoolers Thinking? transforms the misunderstandings children have into a window on what children think. The authors argue that once educators and parents understand what children are really saying, we can provide the information children want. — Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education, University of Delaware

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About the Authors

Judith A. Schickedanz, PhD (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1973) is currently professor emerita at Boston University (BU). Dr. Schickedanz taught preschool and has worked extensively with early childhood teachers and administrators on funded projects, including Right to Read (1976–1981) and Early Reading First (ERF) (2003–2012).

During her thirty-four years at BU, Dr. Schickedanz taught undergraduate and graduate courses in child development, early literacy, and curriculum and instruction; directed the laboratory preschool; and coordinated the early childhood program. She also served as coeditor of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education (2007–present) and twice served as president of the Literacy Development in Young Children special interest group (SIG) within the International Reading Association, now the International Literacy Association. Her current interests include preschoolers’ story comprehension, especially higher-level thinking.

Dr. Schickedanz has authored many articles, book chapters, and books, including “Repeated Interactive Read-Alouds with Young Children,” with Lea McGee; “For Young Children, Pictures in Storybooks Are Rarely Worth a Thousand Words,” with Molly Collins; Writing in Preschool, with Renee Casbergue; Understanding Children and Adolescents, with D. Schickedanz, P. Forsyth, and A. Forsyth; So Much More than the ABCs, with Molly Collins; and Inside Preschool Classrooms, with Catherine Marchant).

Molly F. Collins, EdD (Boston University) is associate professor of the practice of literacy in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Peabody College, Vanderbilt. Dr. Collins has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in cognitive development, language, linguistics, and storybook reading. She has provided professional development on language and literacy for early childhood educators nationally, including two Early Reading First projects (2007–2010), and internationally for the Abu Dhabi/Vanderbilt collaboration (2011–2016). She taught toddlers and preschoolers, is past president of the Literacy Development in Young Children group within the International Literacy Association, and is secretary of AERA’s Vocabulary special interest group (SIG).

Dr. Collins directed two IES development projects on vocabulary learning from story reading and play and is the principal investigator of a multiyear intervention examining preschoolers’ vocabulary, inferencing, and early reading skills. The recipient of the ILA’s Outstanding Dissertation Award, she has written articles on children’s vocabulary and comprehension, including “Supporting Inferential Thinking in Preschoolers”; “Storybook Reading: Insights from Hindsight”; and “Effects of Teacher-Delivered Book Reading and Play on Vocabulary Learning,” with David Dickinson et al. She is a member of AERA, ILA, LRA, SRCD, and Jumpstart’s National Early Education Council.

Catherine Marchant, EdD has been a classroom teacher, an early childhood special educator, a teacher educator, an instructional coach, and an administrator (e.g., early childhood liaison, evaluation team leader, and early childhood specialist). She holds a bachelor’s from Boston College; a master’s from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Whether in her own classroom or those of others, she has blended information from research with learning from children and teachers.

After several years of teaching in the Boston Public Schools (BPS), Catherine joined the faculty at Wheelock College (1982–1994) to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in child development, and curriculum and instruction. She also supervised student teachers. Later (1996–2012), she returned to BPS to serve as a literacy coach in Boston’s early education centers and as an instructional coach for the Boston Early Reading First Initiative. In that capacity, she collaborated with Judy Schickedanz, the program’s curriculum consultant. Catherine also collaborated with Molly Collins as the coach’s coach on another ERF project and helped analyze many of the misunderstandings highlighted in this book. Currently, Catherine consults with individual schools and districts to support curriculum based on the principles and theories underlying Opening the World of Learning.

Table of Contents


E-book available through online booksellers

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