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In my language arts methods courses at the university, I spend time demonstrating the efficacy of a meaning-based curriculum. Students spend time in my classes reading and writing for functional purposes. They collaborate on assignments and choose many of the projects from an extensive list. They even design their own exams. I try to engage my students in activities which are alternatives to traditional instruction, so that they will teach young children in similar ways. Yet, I always have some students who argue for traditional instruction. One student may say, "It worked for me," while another might question, "If it's so bad, why don't all children who receive traditional instruction fail?" These questions made me ponder Audrey, a child I observed closely for two years. Audrey was a low-SES learner in a traditional classroom who was a successful literacy learner.

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