The History of Beginning Reading: From Teaching by "Sound" to Teaching by "Meaning"

Vol. II

by Geraldine E. Rodgers



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 25/05/2001

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.25x11
Page Count : 508
ISBN : 9781588209733

About the Book

The puzzling adoption in 1930 of a deaf-mute method for teaching beginning reading to hearing children in America can only be understood when the long history of teaching beginning reading is known. The deaf-mute method adopted almost immediately after 1930 from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and from Canada to Mexico was the "meaning" approach to teach the reading of alphabetic print instead of the "sound" approach. "Dick and Jane" primers and their clones, which teach beginning reading by meaning instead of by sound are, indeed, the disgraceful source for America’s functional illiteracy problem. The history is an attempt to bring together most historical sources on those primers and on the long teaching of beginning reading itself so that functional illiteracy can be properly understood and successfully corrected.

About the Author

Appalled at the reading disabilities in her third-grade classroom in New Jersey, Geraldine E. Rodgers requested a sabbatical leave to observe first-grade reading instruction and to test resultant second-grade oral reading in the United States and Europe. In 1977-78, using a portion of a silent reading test from IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement), which she had translated commercially into Dutch, Icelandic, Swedish, German, and French, she tested the oral reading of about 900 second graders in their own languages in the United States, Holland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and France. She "discovered" that different and opposite types of readers (or mixtures of those types) are developed, depending on the emphasis on "sound" or "meaning" in first-grade. She later stumbled across the fact in a 1912 University of Chicago article that her 1978 "discovery" of different types of readers had already been announced seventy-five years before by a German researcher, Oskar Messmer, in 1903, who labeled the types "objective" (for "sound") or "subjective" (for "meaning"). Since 1978, she has done extensive work at the Library of Congress, the Harvard libraries, the British Library in London, the University of Chicago library, and many other libraries to try to find out why such facts in the history of reading as the Messmer research have been buried. The History of Beginning Reading: From Teaching by "Sound" to Teaching by "Meaning" reports in depth on her findings.