Learning to Read in American Schools: Basal Readers and Content Texts

Learning to Read in American Schools: Basal Readers and Content Texts

Learning to Read in American Schools: Basal Readers and Content Texts

Learning to Read in American Schools: Basal Readers and Content Texts

Synopsis

Learning to Read in American Schools examines critical research that offers direct implications for the design and/or evaluation of text materials used in our schools today. In so doing, it addresses issues regarding the quality of text materials, and contains specific recommendations for the improvement of reading comprehension and instruction. Timely, clearly written, and jargon-free, this text is an essential handbook for school administrators, reading specialists, teachers in professional development programs, trainers of teachers, and curriculum developers. It should have a profound impact on how reading is taught in American schools.

Excerpt

The past ten years have seen unparalleled growth in research-based knowledge about the nature of reading comprehension, the characteristics of readable texts, and the instructional practices that will maximize comprehension. This new scholarship already occupies the course of study of graduate seminars in reading at major universities, but has had as yet only a modest impact on the teaching of reading in school classrooms. The goal of Learning to Read in American Schools is to communicate this research to the diverse group of people engaged in reading education.

A great deal of the recent research about the reading process and reading instruction has emanated from the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign. The Center for the Study of Reading was established at the University of Illinois in 1976 under a contract with the National Institute of Education. This contract called for basic research on the processes underlying the development of reading comprehension. Center researchers represent a variety of disciplines -- education, linguistics, cognitive psychology, and computer science.

The Center has not only been given the task of conducting research about reading, but is also responsible for disseminating the results of its research to schools, teachers, colleges and universities, as well as to publishers of instructional materials. Common experience, as well as systematic classroom observation, indicates that published basal reading programs and content area texts have an enormous, even overriding, influence on how reading, social studies, and science are taught in the nation's schools. It stands to reason, therefore, that researchers who wish to have scholarship influence practice ought to give a high priority to interacting with publishers. And since teachers in school districts use basal reading programs and content area texts, it also stands to reason that researchers give equal priority to interacting with teachers, the trainers of teachers, and school administrators. Learning to Read in American Schools has been written to foster this kind of interaction.

Some of the most important and most school-relevant research done at . . .

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