Basic Studies on Reading

Basic Studies on Reading

Basic Studies on Reading

Basic Studies on Reading

Excerpt

This volume is a collection of studies designed for linguists, psychologists, and educators who are interested in basic research on reading. The theme that runs through many of the chapters is that reading is a complicated process about which we know too little. The emphasis should be on the word process in that little or no attention in this book is given to the pedagogy of reading. We deliberately inflated the title with the word basic in order to make it clear that this volume is not another touchstone about how to teach children to read. We have nothing to add to the fantastically large, and for the most part ineffective, literature on teaching people to read. That is not our purpose, and, except for an occasional speculative foray by an author, these studies are not concerned with practical issues of reading instruction. Indeed, the relationship between understanding the nature of a complex skill and teaching that skill is not at all clear. Chomsky, for example, asserts strongly that the study of linguistics has little to offer the reading teacher. Other authors, as you will see, are more hopeful. In the final chapter, Williams discusses how the practitioner might use fundamental research.

The chapters fall under three rubrics. The first section concerns linguistics and reading, and Francis' comments on these chapters point up certain general ideas among the authors. Chomsky and Reed take up the important problem of how language is represented in writing. These issues are important and provide a focus for future linguistic inquiry.

Several of the chapters cover various psychological processes and reading. With the exception of Weber's work on children's reading errors and Gibson's on deaf people, the studies are about mature, skilled readers. In commenting on these chapters and reviewing some of their common themes, Brown points out that these studies have put reading research into the broader context of psycholinguistics and information processing.

Three chapters relate to social variables in reading research. Blom and his coworkers have content analyzed children's readers for, among . . .

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