Basal reader


Basal reader

:"Reader (book)" redirects here."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.

Description

Basal readers are typically highly organized. Stories are chosen to illustrate and develop specific skills, which are taught in a strict 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. Critics of the billion-dollar basal reader industry blame the readers for the failure of our schools to teach reading. (Only 5% of 17-year olds read well enough to do college work.Fact|date=December 2007) They question the use of materials which lack any scientific evidence of effectiveness and point to the widespread failure of our schools to teach reading as proof that basal readers are a waste of time. A hundred years ago, the average citizen was more literate and became so without the use of basal readers.

Benefits

The highly pre-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 beginning 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.

Criticisms

Some of the benefits of basal readers are viewed as shortcomings by critics of these books. Critics charge that they focus on teaching isolated skills, rather than fostering an enjoyment and appreciation of reading for its own sake, and that more time is spent on the supplemental worksheets than on actually reading authentic texts. The quality of the literature in the reading books is another target of criticism. Works chosen mainly to allow skills practice may not be particularly meaningful, authentic, or interesting.

History

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 levelFact|date=December 2007. 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. In recent years, a revolution in reading has taken place. Massive amounts of scientific evidence show just what is needed to teach children to read.

ee also

* Anthology
* Dick and Jane
* Peter and Jane
* Spot the Dog
* Phonics
* Whole language
* Reading education
* Joy Cowley


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Reader — can mean: * a reader: a person who is reading a text.* A family name: ** Colin Reader, English geologist ** Eddi Reader, Scottish singer ** Francis Reader (born 1965) , Scottish musician ** Ralph Reader (1903 1982), British director and producer …   Wikipedia

  • basal — basally, adv. /bay seuhl, zeuhl/, adj. 1. of, at, or forming the base. 2. forming a basis; fundamental; basic. 3. Physiol. a. indicating a standard low level of activity of an organism, as during total rest. b. of an amount required to maintain… …   Universalium

  • basal — ba•sal [[t]ˈbeɪ səl, zəl[/t]] adj. 1) of, at, or forming the base 2) forming a basis; fundamental; basic: a basal reader[/ex] 3) phl a) indicating a standard low level of activity of an organism, as during total rest b) of an amount required to… …   From formal English to slang

  • Weekly Reader Publishing — is a publisher of educational materials in the United States that has been in existence for over 100 years. It provides teaching materials to elementary and secondary schools that are used by more than 90 percent of that country s school… …   Wikipedia

  • basalreader — basal reader n. A textbook compiled to teach people, especially young children, to read. * * * …   Universalium

  • Unterrichtsmedium — Unter Unterrichtsmedien versteht man Informationsträger, die im Unterricht zu didaktischen Zwecken eingesetzt werden. Dazu zählen unter anderem Schulbücher, Lernkarteien, Arbeitsblätter, Kladden, Notebooks, Unterrichtssoftware,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Unterrichtsmedien — Die Artikel Bildungsmedium und Unterrichtsmedium überschneiden sich thematisch. Hilf mit, die Artikel besser voneinander abzugrenzen oder zu vereinigen. Beteilige dich dazu an der Diskussion über diese Überschneidungen. Bitte entferne diesen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Revolution Will Not Be Televised — Infobox Single Name = The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Artist = Gil Scott Heron Album = Pieces of a Man A side = Home Is Where the Hatred Is Released = 1971 Format …   Wikipedia

  • Joy Cowley — DCNZM, OBE, (born in Levin, August 7, 1936) is a New Zealand author of novels, short stories, and children s fiction.Her first novel, Nest in a Fallen Tree (1967), was converted into the 1971 film The Night Digger by Roald Dahl. Following its… …   Wikipedia

  • Canadian Ukrainian — language name=Canadian Ukrainian nativename=українська мова ukrayins ka mova states=Canada regions=mostly the Prairie Provinces, especially in the historical Ukrainian Bloc Settlement speakers=Canada 148,090 175,000 rank in Canada=12… …   Wikipedia