Only the beginning of the story about how this book came to be is typical of many edited scholarly volumes. Its inception corresponded with a national conference organized by the National Reading Research Center (NRRC), a consortium of researchers primarily at the University of Georgia and the University of Maryland, who are funded through the Office of Educational Research and Improvement by the U.S. Department of Education.1 The title of this volume, Developing Engaged Readers in School and Home Communities, had its origins in the February 1993 conference, which served to highlight major emphases of the then newly funded Center.
As alluded to in this title, the NRRC's research agenda proceeds from a conception of reading referred to as the engagement perspective. The engagement perspective, described more fully in our introduction, recognizes that to understand fully how literacy can be promoted among children and adolescents, researchers must look beyond narrowly defined competencies and characteristics of successful readers. A broad concep-____________________