Handbook of Reading Research

Handbook of Reading Research

Handbook of Reading Research

Handbook of Reading Research


The influential first volume of the Handbook of Reading Research, published in 1984, was out of print for a number of years. This classic work, newly reprinted and available once again, includes comprehensive, authoritative, and effectively written chapters from a variety of research perspectives. With the breadth to appeal to a wide audience, yet the depth to speak authoritatively to various subgroups within that audience, this volume is an essential resource for researchers, students, and professionals across the field of reading and literacy education.


If the gestation period of books, like those of animals, varies directly as a function of adult body weight, then the six-year pregnancy of this volume may be justified. It has been a labor of love, anger, frustration, awe, surprise, and serendipity. In short, it has progressed like any good marriage of authors, editors, and publishers.

Those of us who participated in the conception, labor, and birth hope that the offspring will prove, above all, to be useful to the reading research community— to those who will produce the next generation of reading research, to those who produced the previous generation of research, and to those who use reading research to guide their work in developing reading curricula, reading materials, and reading instruction.

We have chosen the term Handbook to serve as part of the title intentionally, for we hope that the book will be regarded as much a reference tool as it is a textbook. We have tried to provide, in a single volume, a characterization of both our current state of methodological prowess and our cumulative research-based knowledge. The chapters in Part One have been written in order to provide the reader with a perspective on important methodological issues and tensions in conducting reading research. Richard Venezky's opening salvo on the history of reading research, followed by Michael KamiPs spritely characterization of the reading research scene today, set the context for not only the rest of Part One, but really for the entire volume. The remaining four chapters in Part One are a mixture of “how to” advice and “ycm ought to be careful about X” admonitions that researchers need to consider as they plan and implement research endeavors. Part Two (basic process in reading) and Part Three (instructional practices in reading) contain reviews of research in important areas of reading. The authors of these chapters were asked to write reviews that were as “current and comprehensive” as possible, given the time constraints on moving from manuscript to bound books. These chapters, several of which have already become “classics” in their own right in pre-publication form, should provide convenient jumping-off points for scholars who wish to pursue research in particular areas. They should also serve as “landing areas” for these readers who simply want to know what the research has to say about a given topic.

We have tried to provide a number of features that we hope readers find helpful. While the subheadings in Parts Two and Three vary from chapter to chap-

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