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Basal readers are textbooks used to teach reading and associated skills to schoolchildren. Commonly called "reading books" or "readers" they are usually published as anthologies that combine previously published short stories, excerpts of longer narratives, and original works. A standard basal series comes with individual identical books for students, a Teacher's Edition of the book, and a collection of workbooks, assessments, and activities.
Basal readers are typically organized. Stories are chosen to illustrate and develop specific skills, which are taught in a pre-determined sequence. The teacher's editions are also tightly organized, containing much more than the answer key to the questions that usually appear at the end of each reading passage. The teacher's book also contains suggestions for pre-reading and post-reading activities and assessments, as well as scripted questions to ask students at specific points in a story.
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Basal readers have been in use in the United States since the mid-1860s, beginning with a series called the McGuffey Readers. This was the first reader published with the idea of having one text for each grade level.[ citation needed ] Since then, teaching methodologies in school basals have shifted regularly. The Scott Foresman Company published what is perhaps the most famous basal series, whose stories starred two children named Dick and Jane. Dick and Jane books emphasized memorizing words on sight, a method which came to be known as "look and say." This philosophy came under attack in the late 1950s, largely due to Rudolf Flesch's book Why Johnny Can't Read . This was a scathing condemnation of the "look say" method, and advocated a return to programs that stressed teaching phonics to beginning readers.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the pendulum did swing back toward a more phonics-based approach. During the latter part of the 1980s, basal usage declined as reading programs began to turn to whole language programs that relied more heavily on trade books, rather than textbooks. The 1990s and early years of the 21st century have seen a renewed interest in skills acquisition which has sparked a resurgence in basal dominance.
The highly planned nature of basal readers is seen as one of their strengths, as this eases the load on teachers, particularly those who are inexperienced. Specific skills can be easily targeted, tested, and remediated. Those with very controlled vocabulary usage may ease difficulties for beginner or weak readers. Students who are reading below grade level will receive some benefits from using the on-level basal. The exposure will prepare them for state testing. Using a basal reader as a starting point for grade level reading allows educators to quickly assess student reading level. Basals are not meant to be the only resource a student uses, just the starting point.
Whole language is a philosophy of reading that is based upon the premise that learning to read English, especially for young children, comes naturally to humans in the same way that learning to speak develops naturally. In assessing this claim, research psychologist Keith Stanovich asserted “The idea that learning to read is just like learning to speak is accepted by no responsible linguist, psychologist, or cognitive scientist in the research community”, while in a systematic review of the reading research literature, Louisa Moats concluded that “Almost every premise advanced by whole language about how reading is learned has been contradicted by scientific investigations.”
Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing of the English language by developing learners' phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes—in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them.
Reading education is the process by which individuals are taught to derive meaning from text. Schoolchildren not capable of reading competently by the end of third grade can face obstacles to success in education. The third grade marks a crucial point in reading because students start to encounter broader variety of texts in their fourth grade.
The Cat in the Hat is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in 1957. The story centers on a tall anthropomorphic cat, who wears a red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie. The Cat shows up at the house of Sally and her brother one rainy day when their mother is away. Despite the repeated objections of the children's fish, the Cat shows the children a few of his tricks in an attempt to entertain them. In the process he and his companions, Thing One and Thing Two, wreck the house. The children and the fish become more and more alarmed until the Cat produces a machine that he uses to clean everything up and disappears just before the children's mother comes home.
Readability is the ease with which a reader can understand a written text. In natural language, the readability of text depends on its content and its presentation. Researchers have used various factors to measure readability, such as
McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling.
Dick and Jane refers to the two main characters, "Dick" and "Jane", created by Zerna Sharp for a series of basal readers that William S. Gray wrote to teach children to read. The characters first appeared in the Elson-Gray Readers in 1930 and continued in a subsequent series of books through the final version that Scott Foresman published in 1965. These readers were used in classroom in the United States and in other English-speaking countries for nearly four decades, reaching the height of their popularity in the 1950s, when 80 percent of first-grade students in the United States were learning to read through these stories. Although the Dick and Jane series of primers continued to be sold until 1973 and remained in use in some classrooms throughout the 1970s, they were replaced with other reading texts by the 1980s and gradually disappeared from school curriculum. The Dick and Jane series were known for their simple narrative text and watercolor illustrations. Despite the criticisms of the stereotypical content that depicted white, middle-class Americans and the whole-word (look-say) method of teaching reading on which these readers are based, the characters of "Dick," "Jane," and their younger sister, "Sally," became household words. The Dick and Jane primers have also become icons of mid-century American culture and collectors' items.
Zerna Addis Sharp was an American educator and book editor who is best known as the creator of the Dick and Jane series of beginning readers for elementary school-aged children. Published by Scott, Foresman and Company of Chicago, Illinois, the readers, which described the activities of her fictional siblings, "Dick," "Jane," "Sally," and other characters, were widely used in schools in the United States and many other English-speaking countries for nearly forty years. The series, which included such titles as We Look and See, We Come and Go, We Work and Play, and Fun with Dick and Jane, among others, was marketed until 1973 and used the look-say method of teaching reading.
The National Reading Panel (NRP) was a United States government body. Formed in 1997 at the request of Congress, it was a national panel with the stated aim of assessing the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read.
Reading comprehension is the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows. Fundamental skills required in efficient reading comprehension are knowing meaning of words, ability to understand meaning of a word from discourse context, ability to follow organization of passage and to identify antecedents and references in it, ability to draw inferences from a passage about its contents, ability to identify the main thought of a passage, ability to answer questions answered in a passage, ability to recognize the literary devices or propositional structures used in a passage and determine its tone, to understand the situational mood conveyed for assertions, questioning, commanding, refraining etc. and finally ability to determine writer's purpose, intent and point of view, and draw inferences about the writer (discourse-semantics).
Synthetic phonics, also known as blended phonics or inductive phonics, is a method of teaching English reading which first teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words.
Saxon math, developed by John Saxon, is a teaching method for incremental learning of mathematics. It involves teaching a new mathematical concept every day and constantly reviewing old concepts. Early editions were deprecated for providing very few opportunities to practice the new material before plunging into a review of all previous material. Newer editions typically split the day's work evenly between practicing the new material and reviewing old material. Its primary strength is in a steady review of all previous material, which is especially important to students who struggle with retaining the math they previously learned.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is software for K-12 schools for monitoring the practice of reading. It was developed by Renaissance Learning, Inc. There are two versions: a desktop version and a web-based version in Renaissance Place, the company's online portal.
"Phonics" emphasizes the alphabetic principle – the idea that letters represent the sounds of speech, and that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken words, which is specific to the alphabetic writing system Children learn letter sounds first and then blend them to form words. Children also learn how to segment and chunk letter sounds together in order to blend them to form words.
William S. Gray (1885–1960) was an American educator and literacy advocate.
Scott Foresman is an elementary educational publisher for PreK through Grade 6 in all subject areas. It is owned by Pearson Education.
Management of dyslexia depends on a multiple of variables; there is no one specific strategy or set of strategies which will work for all who have dyslexia.
A balanced literacy program uses research-based elements of comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonemic awareness and phonics and includes instruction in a combination of whole group, small group and 1:1 instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening with the strongest research-based elements of each. The components of a 'balanced literacy' approach include many different strategies applied during Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop.
Alice and Jerry was a basal reader educational series published and used in classrooms from the mid-1930s to the 1960s. The books sold nearly 100 million copies worldwide.
Arther Storrey Trace, Jr. was an author, educator, educational critic and reformer, and academic professor. Trace was best known as the author of What Ivan Knows that Johnny Doesn’t (1961), published by Random House during the Sputnik era, at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In this book, he sought to upend the then commonly held opinion that although the United States seemed to lag behind the Soviet Union in the teaching of science and mathematics, it was superior in the teaching of the humanities.