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Do Textbooks Used in University Reading Education Courses Conform to the Instructional Recommendations of the National Reading Panel?



Two reasons may be responsible for the poor grasp of the linguistic concepts related to literacy acquisition by preservice and in-service teachers: a lack of attention given to such concepts by teacher educators (college faculty members) and a lack of relevant information provided in the textbooks used in college courses. In an earlier study, the authors found that many teacher educators involved in the training of preservice and in-service teachers were not well acquainted with these concepts. In this study, the authors examined the extent to which textbooks used in reading education courses contain the information about the five components of literacy instruction (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension) recommended by the National Reading Panel. Such scrutiny shows that many textbooks do not adequately cover these five components and the related instructional procedures for teaching them. In addition to the paucity of information about teaching the five components, some textbooks present inaccurate information.
Do Textbooks Used in University Reading
Education Courses Conform to the Instructional
Recommendations of the National Reading Panel?
R. Malatesha Joshi
Texas A&M University
Emily Binks
University of Hull
Lori Graham
Texas A&M University
Emily Ocker-Dean
McMurry University
Dennie L. Smith
Texas A&M University
Regina Boulware-Gooden
Neuhaus Education Center
Two reasons may be responsible for the poor grasp of the linguistic concepts related to literacy acquisition by preservice
and in-service teachers: a lack of attention given to such concepts by teacher educators (college faculty members) and a
lack of relevant information provided in the textbooks used in college courses. In an earlier study, the authors found that
many teacher educators involved in the training of preservice and in-service teachers were not well acquainted with these
concepts. In this study, the authors examined the extent to which textbooks used in reading education courses contain the
information about the five components of literacy instruction (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text
comprehension) recommended by the National Reading Panel. Such scrutiny shows that many textbooks do not adequately
cover these five components and the related instructional procedures for teaching them. In addition to the paucity of infor-
mation about teaching the five components, some textbooks present inaccurate information.
Keywords: National Reading Panel; reading education textbooks; teacher education
In their book Becoming a Nation of Readers, Anderson,
Hiebert, Scott, and Wilkinson (1985) came to the con-
clusion that “the issue is no longer, as it was several
decades ago, whether children should be taught phonics;
the issue is . . . how it should be taught” (p. 36). A few
years after this book was published, in 1993, the National
Right to Read Foundation was formed, with the objec-
tive of disseminating the research findings on reading
instruction that emerged from projects funded by National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In
1996, the Reading Excellence Act was proposed, and in
1998, the National Research Council presented a report
titled Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children
(Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998) that highlighted the
importance of high-quality reading instruction as well as
early intervention in the development of literacy. Similar
events took place in other English-speaking countries. In
the United Kingdom, the House of Commons Select
Committee on the Teaching of Reading was established
in 2004, and in the same year, the Australian government
created a committee to conduct the National Inquiry Into
the Teaching of Literacy. An important point to note is
that the reports from the United States, the United
Kingdom, and Australia all recommended the use of
synthetic phonics instruction to teach reading at early
grade levels (Coltheart & Prior, 2007). These reports
also stressed the importance of preparing preservice and
in-service teachers in the art and science of teaching
reading through systematic and explicit phonics, because
it is known that such an approach increases the reading
Journal of Learning Disabilities
Volume 42 Number 5
September/October 2009 458-463
© 2009 Hammill Institute on
hosted at
Joshi et al. / Education Textbooks 459
scores of children. Nevertheless, several studies (Bos,
Mather, Dickson, Podhajski, & Chard, 2001; Cunningham,
Perry, Stanovich, & Stanovich, 2004; Joshi, Binks,
Hougen, et al., 2009a; Moats, 1994; Moats & Foorman,
2003; Spear-Swerling & Brucker, 2003, 2004) have
shown that many preservice and in-service teachers are
not conversant with the concepts involved in systematic,
explicit instruction.
The finding that knowledge of core linguistic con-
cepts is weak in preservice and in-service teachers led us
to hypothesize that this state of affairs may be due to two
reasons. One is that teacher educators are not providing
the necessary information needed for explicit and sys-
tematic instruction, because teacher educators them-
selves may not be comfortable with these concepts. In
our other article in this issue (Joshi, Binks, Hougen,
et al., 2009b), we discuss our finding that teacher educa-
tors performed well on tasks relating to syllables but
were not as competent on items relating to phonemes,
morphemes, and phonemic awareness. There is a posi-
tive relationship between the knowledge of teacher edu-
cators and its effect on children’s reading achievement.
A recent study by Binks (2008) showed that teacher edu-
cators who were provided a series of seminars incorpo-
rating the principles of scientifically based reading
research ultimately produced preservice teachers who
performed significantly better on the Survey of Language
Constructs Related to Literacy Acquisition (Joshi, Binks,
Hougen, et al., 2009a) than a comparison group taught
by teacher educators who had not undergone profes-
sional development seminars focused on the core knowl-
edge relative to the five essential components
recommended for acquiring strong literacy foundations.
The second reason for the lack of knowledge of the
linguistic concepts among preservice and in-service
teachers may be that the textbooks used in reading edu-
cation courses do not provide the required information
about the fundamentals of these instructional concepts.
After analyzing 226 textbooks used in reading education
courses, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)
reported that “the quality of almost all the reading texts
is poor. . . . The contents of these textbooks include little
to no hard science and in far too many cases, the content
is inaccurate and misleading” (Walsh, Glaser, & Wilcox,
2006, p. 33). The textbooks referred to in this study were
examined by three “literacy experts” established by
NCTQ as to whether they were acceptable as core or as
supplemental, unacceptable as core or as supplemental,
or not relevant.
The present article is a report of a study of the second
question regarding how well textbooks used in reading
education courses convey information on instructional
concepts that relate to the five components of reading
instruction recommended by National Reading Panel
(NRP). We wanted an established measure rather than
subjective criteria for the evaluation of what a good read-
ing textbook should contain. Hence, we used the five
components of the NRP’s report to structure the frame-
work of evaluation.
For the present study, we contacted five well-known
textbook publishers and requested the titles of their most
widely adopted books for use in university elementary-
level introductory reading education classes. This resulted
in the selection and examination of 17 textbooks. Two of
the coauthors of the present article independently exam-
ined each of the 17 books with reference to the following
three criteria: (a) whether all five components recom-
mended by the NRP (phonemic awareness, phonics, flu-
ency, vocabulary, and comprehension) were presented
within the textbook; (b) whether the definitions in the
textbook matched the NRP’s definitions; and (c) the
extent to which the components were covered in the text.
The extent of coverage in each textbook was computed by
dividing the number of pages devoted to each of the five
components of reading recommended by NRP by the total
number of pages of the text. The amount of material on
the page, whether 1 sentence or 25 or more sentences,
counted as one page in the calculation. Even though we
examined whether the components were clearly defined
and whether research-based instructional recommenda-
tions were provided in the textbooks, we realize that
quantity, rather than quality, was given more importance.
Moreover, the measure of quantity was quite rough. The
resulting number of pages was multiplied by 100 to obtain
the percentage of content covered. References, appendi-
ces, and glossaries were not included in the analysis. The
interrater reliability of this analysis was .91.
The results of the analysis are shown in Table 1. To
maintain anonymity, the names of the authors and the
textbooks have not been provided.
The analyses for the three questions showed that 13 of
the 17 most widely used textbooks included all five com-
ponents recommended by the NRP, and 10 textbooks cor-
rectly defined each of the five components. However,
there was wide variation in the extent of coverage, with the
460 Journal of Learning Disabilities
percentage of total NRP content covered in the textbooks
ranging from 4% to 60%. Some noteworthy findings were
that 4 textbooks did not cover the topics of phonemic
awareness and phonics, which are considered basic build-
ing blocks of linguistics and literacy acquisition. One of
the textbooks, used in 84 university courses, devoted only
10% of the entire volume to the five components of read-
ing, and another textbook, adopted by 91 universities, did
not cover phonemic awareness and fluency. Nine text-
books devoted only one third of their content to the five
components. Our findings were similar to the findings of
the NCTQ in that we also found that very few textbooks
covered all the information considered to be the core of the
majority of scientifically based reading research and rec-
ommended by the NRP.
A further analysis of the 10 textbooks that included all
five components and defined them correctly was con-
ducted to assess the percentage of each of the five compo-
nents. The results are shown in Table 2. As can be seen in
Table 2, even among those textbooks that covered all the
five components, relatively less attention was given to
those concepts relating to beginning reading instruction.
In general, phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency,
which are considered to be foundations of reading, were
given less attention compared to vocabulary and compre-
hension. Whereas the amount of comprehension cover-
age ranged from 1% to 20%, the coverage of phonemic
awareness ranged from 1% to 5%. Even though the ulti-
mate goal of reading is comprehension, it is generally
accepted that decoding is the foundation for reading and
is considered a necessary although not suffi cient condi-
tion for fluent reading. Our intention is not to highlight
only decoding but rather is influenced by models such as
“simple view of reading” (Gough & Tunmer, 1986;
Hoover & Gough, 1990) and the “componential model of
reading” (Aaron & Joshi, 1992; Aaron, Joshi, Boulware-
Gooden, & Bentum, 2008; Joshi & Aaron, 2000) that
stress the importance of both decod ing and comprehen-
sion for fluent reading. Neverthe less, it is noteworthy
that relatively less information was provided on phone-
mic awareness and phonics in these widely used text-
books. Some of the topics that were covered in these
textbooks but were not examined by us included chil-
dren’s literature, assessment and evaluation, technology,
English-language learners, the history of reading educa-
tion, and writing.
In addition to providing scanty information about
phonology-related concepts and their instruction, some-
times the concepts were not made clear or were
described incorrectly. Frequently, information regarding
very fundamental concepts, such as phonemic aware-
ness and phonics, was inaccurate. For instance, three
books recommended that phonemic awareness can be
improved by teaching letter-sound correspondences.
Even though there is a reciprocal relationship between
phonemic awareness and letter knowledge, generally,
phonemic awareness is improved by activities such as
the deletion of sounds in spoken words (e.g., asking a
child to say the word snow without the /s/ sound) and
substituting a sound in a spoken word (e.g., substitute
the /p/ sound for the /t/ sound in the word cat to form
the word cap; Adams, Foorman, Lundberg, & Beeler,
1998; Torgesen, 2005). Furthermore, in one of the text-
books used in graduate classes of reading education, we
Table 1
Percentages and Types of Information Provided in the Textbooks
Textbook Are the Five Components Included in the Text? Do They Match the Definitions of the NRP? Amount of Coverage Within the Text
1 Yes Yes 60%
2 Yes Yes 39%
3 Yes Yes 34%
4 Yes No 34%
5 Yes Yes 28%
6 Yes No 28%
7 Yes Yes 28%
8 Yes Yes 27%
9 Yes Yes 25%
10 Yes Yes 23%
11 Yes Yes 20%
12 Yes Yes 10%
13 Yes No 9%
14 No (missing phonemic awareness) No 46%
15 No (missing phonemic awareness and phonics) No 24%
16 No (missing phonemic awareness and fluency) No 7%
17 No (missing phonemic awareness and phonics) No 4%
Joshi et al. / Education Textbooks 461
found the following information: “A grapheme is the
smallest unit in a written language, a letter of the alpha-
bet in alphabetic languages” (Sadoski, 2004, p. 61). It
This system [phonics] is unfortunately not a matter of
one-to-one correspondence, as can be readily inferred
from the mismatch between 26 graphemes and 44 pho-
nemes. Phonics is a complex, imperfect system and
some of it is seldom if ever taught, but readers develop
considerable phonics knowledge whether they are taught
it or pick it up on their own. (p. 62)
In actuality, a grapheme is a letter or a group of letters
that represents one phoneme. For example, the letter c in
cat is one grapheme, the two letters th in the word this
are one grapheme, the three letters tch in the word match
are one grapheme, and the four letters ough in the word
through are also one grapheme. Thus, there are not just
26 but rather approximately 200 graphemes in the
English language (Caravolas, 2006). Furthermore, the
English phonics system is not as complex and imperfect
as is often claimed. Indeed, the linguists Chomsky and
Halle (1968) asserted that English spelling, far from
being irregular and illogical, is a “near optimal system
for lexical representation” (p. 49). Other scholars, too,
have argued that English includes many statistical pat-
terns that make it less chaotic than often thought (Kessler
& Treiman, 2003; Treiman, 2006). Hanna, Hanna,
Hodges, and Rudorf (1966) estimated that the spellings
of nearly 50% of English words are predictable on the
basis of letter-sound correspondences and that a further
37% are almost predictable except for one sound (e.g.,
knit and boat). Hanna et al. further stressed that if other
information, such as word origin and word meaning, is
considered, only 4% of English words are truly irregular
and may have to be learned as visual units.
Illiteracy is a problem of global magnitude and has an
impact on social and economic aspects of peoples’ lives.
Although there may be various factors contributing to
illiteracy, such as family background (Pennington &
Olson, 2005), the number of books available at home
(Chiu & McBride-Chang, 2006), and oral language devel-
opment (Hart & Risley, 1995; Moats, 2001), the type of
instruction received, especially at early grade levels, may
also play a major role (Foorman, Francis, Shaywitz,
Shaywitz, & Fletcher, 1997; Torgesen, 2005; Vellutino,
Scanlon, & Jaccard, 2003). The reason for the delivery of
adequate instruction in elementary grades may be that
many in-service and preservice teachers do not know and
do not have available the information required for deliver-
ing systematic, explicit instruction in the essential compo-
nents of literacy (Bos et al., 2001; Cunningham et al.,
2004; Joshi, Binks, Hougen, et al., 2009a; Moats, 1994;
Moats & Foorman, 2003; Spear-Swerling & Brucker,
2003, 2004). Two factors may contribute this situation.
One is that teacher educators themselves may not pay
adequate attention to linguistic concepts related to literacy
acquisition and hence do not teach them in their reading
education courses at the university level. Another factor
may be that the textbooks used in reading education
courses do not provide the appropriate information. The
studies reported in this issue indicate that these two fac-
tors may play major contributing roles in the quality of
preservice teacher education. An overarching factor may
be the lack of agree ment among educators as to what con-
stitutes effective literacy instruction in the early grades.
Table 2
Percentages of Five Components of Reading Included in Each of the Textbooks
Book Phonemic Awareness Phonics Fluency Vocabulary Text Comprehension Total
1 5 14 6 15 20 60
2 4 7 7 9 12 39
3 2 6 7 5 14 34
4 4 1 7 7 9 28
5a2 4 2 9 10 28
6 2 3 4 6 12 27
7a3 2 4 6 9 25
8 2 3 2 5 11 23
9 2 3 3 5 7 20
10a1 2 1 2 5 10
a. Percentages are rounded to the nearest decimal, so some of the totals may not add up exactly.
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R. Malatesha Joshi, PhD, is a professor of reading education,
English as a second language, and educational psychology at
Texas A&M University, where he teaches courses and con-
ducts research in the areas of assessment and intervention of
reading and spelling problems in English speakers as well as
Joshi et al. / Education Textbooks 463
speakers of other languages. He is the founding editor of
Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Emily Binks, PhD, is a lecturer and the research coordinator
for the Scarborough School of Education at the University of
Hull. Her current interests include the linguistic processes
of reading and spelling, particularly among struggling
readers and nonnative English speakers, and teacher knowl-
edge of effective literacy components and instruction.
Lori Graham is a clinical assistant professor of reading educa-
tion at Texas A&M University, where she teaches assessment and
intervention in reading. Her current interests include vocabulary
instruction in the content areas, effective instructional approaches
for struggling readers, and university-school partnerships.
Emily Ocker-Dean, PhD, is an assistant professor of curricu-
lum and instruction at McMurry University, where she teaches
courses in elementary reading methods, reading assessment,
content area reading, early childhood education, and English
as a second language.
Dennie L. Smith, PhD, is a department head, professor, and
endowed chair at Texas A&M University, where he teaches
courses in instructional theory and conducts research in
teacher education. His current research includes using anima-
tion and gaming for teaching and learning.
Regina Boulware-Gooden, PhD, is the director of
research programs at Neuhaus Education Center, Houston,
... Through textbook analysis, readers will find information about the scope and sequence of skills taught and the types of reading materials presented to students. The analysis showed that textbooks may be causing some of the challenges related to student reading comprehension outcomes (Joshi et al. 2009). Before presenting findings presented in the textbooks, we review the theoretical foundations of reading comprehension from which we can glean our foci for these analyses. ...
... However, previous textbook analysis has not used a concrete theoretical framework in reading to examine the design quality of textbooks. Previous reviews focused more on the compilation of broader strategies such as the National Reading Panel recommendations (Joshi et al. 2009). Moreover, the previous textbook analysis focused on the U.S., while textbooks from other countries were seldom examined (e.g., Beerwinkle et al. 2018;Berkeley et al. 2016). ...
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... The instructional materials used in teacher education programs also provide insights into the phonics knowledge to which teacher candidates are exposed. Joshi, Binks, Graham, et al. (2009) examined a sample of 17 textbooks used in teacher education departments nationwide for components of reading instruction recommended by the National Reading Panel (2000), including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Their findings suggested that 13 of the 17 textbooks covered all five areas named by the National Reading Panel, but not all topics received equal coverage. ...
Increasingly alarmed by instructional mandates more founded on journalistic rhetoric and popular opinion than on research findings or practitioner expertise, researchers gathered survey data from teachers to better understand the status of K–2 phonics instruction. Data demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of these K–2 teachers teach phonics, rely on a published curriculum, and teach phonics in systematic and explicit ways. These findings contradict media assertions that reading classrooms are largely devoid of phonics instruction and that teachers fail to include phonics as an important element of their reading instruction. Implications include calls for researchers to explore what teachers can share that helps us better understand what happens in the name of classroom phonics instruction and for decision makers to assume an informed stance before mandating instructional practices based on a narrow understanding of the needs of young readers and the teachers who support them.
... Most unfortunately, this large and heavily grantfunded body of research has not made inroads into the teaching of reading in our nation's K-12 schools. It has been pointed out by numerous sources that "a chasm exists between classroom instructional practices and the research knowledge-base on literacy development" (American Federation of Teachers, 1999, p. 7; see also Joshi, Binks, Graham, et al., 2009;Joshi, Binks, Hougen, et al., 2009b;Kilpatrick, 2015;Moats, 1994Moats, , 2009Seidenberg, 2017). One attempt to close this gap between research and practice was the implementation of response to intervention (RTI). ...
This book chapter explores the implications of assessing word-level reading skills given the scientific findings regarding reading acquisition and reading disabilities.
... The teacher must exhibit confidence in teaching literacy concepts and skills to students to yield positive student outcomes and produce readers. Yet, evidence supports the premise that teachers are not prepared to teach literacy skills to students (Cunningham, Perry, Stanovich, & Stanovich, 2004;Joshi et al., 2009), especially those who struggle to understand the basic components of literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. There are ways to ameliorate the "misteaching" of literacy skills. ...
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... Reading comprehension, defined as the ability to understand the meaning of a written word, sentence or text (Perfetti et al. 2005), involves processes at different hierarchical levels (e.g., Mullis & Martin 2015) and is influenced by both psychological (e.g., motivation, learning style) and ecological factors (e.g., classroom and home environment) (see Component Model of Reading, CMR; Aaron et al. 2008;Joshi & Aaron 2011). Considering the ecological component in the CMR, among other things, both teacher instructional practices as well as textbook content can affect the development of reading comprehension (Beerwinkle et al. 2018;Joshi et al. 2009). The focus of the present study is on textbooks, as these are viewed as being an important resource in the instruction of reading comprehension in Austrian schools. ...
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The range of teaching materials now available is becoming increasingly diverse. Despite this, however, the use and influence of textbooks in teaching still remains very high. When instructing reading comprehension, teachers often use textbooks as the basis for teaching in language lessons. Establishing a good match between textbooks and the skills to be acquired is therefore essential. In this paper, I investigate whether textbooks used in Austrian schools can adequately support the teaching of reading comprehension skills. Since reading comprehension is the basis for acquiring knowledge in all subjects, science textbooks are examined in addition to (German) language lesson textbooks. Thus, the content pages of four language textbooks and four science textbooks for fourth and sixth grade were analysed in terms of five different categories, i.e. general structural setup, learning goals, text types, text structures, and activities. The results reveal clear variations with respect to learning goals in language textbooks. For example, the extent to which reading comprehension is addressed ranges from 13.64 to 69.70%, depending on the book used. Although not addressed as a learning goal in the science textbooks, reading comprehension is often presupposed, especially in sixth grade. While the instruction of reading comprehension ought to entail coverage of reading strategies, this is often neglected, or only dealt with indirectly. Given the diversity of textbooks analysed, it seems all the more important to stress that teachers should: 1) clarify the goals and teaching strategies of a book before using it, 2) become aware of strategies that support the development of students' reading comprehension, and 3) use textbooks as a complementary (and not sole) tool to support reading comprehension in all subjects.
... Current proponents of the science of reading are correct that there is a substantial body of high-quality cognitive and neuroscientific evidence, and it is evident that instruction consistent with that research has not been emphasized much in teacher education recently (Cohen, Mather, Schneider, & White, 2017;Joshi et al., 2009). Yet, these arguments have characterized this problem too narrowly, ignoring most issues of reading instruction beyond decoding and beginning reading. ...
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Recently, the term science of reading has been used in public debate to promote policies and instructional practices based on research on the basic cognitive mechanisms of reading, the neural processes involved in reading, computational models of learning to read, and the like. According to those views, such data provide convincing evidence that explicit decoding instruction (e.g., phonological awareness, phonics) should be beneficial to reading success. Nevertheless, there has been pushback against such policies, the use of the term science of reading by “phonics‐centric people”, and their lack of instructional knowledge and experience. In this article, although the author supports pedagogical decision making on the basis of a confluence of evidence from a variety of sources, he cautions against instructional overgeneralizations based on various kinds of basic research without an adequate consideration of instructional experiments. The author provides several examples of the premature translation of basic research findings into wide‐scale pedagogical application.
... They determined that professors at the university level were lacking in understanding of critical reading components. Additionally, researchers in a separate study concluded that the textbooks being used by teacher preparation programmes contained little detail regarding the instruction of both phonological awareness and decoding, two skills that are characteristically weak in students with dyslexia (Joshi et al., 2009). ...
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More individuals are affected by dyslexia than any other learning disability. The success of students with dyslexia receiving early identification and evidence‐based interventions is dependent upon the knowledge and skills of the school practitioners responsible for their academic programmes. This study investigated knowledge of dyslexia and perceptions of responsibility by administering the Knowledge and Insights of Dyslexia Survey (KIDS) to 243 university students. Survey responses of students (n) majoring in degrees in education (education majors [EM], n = 154) were compared with the responses of students majoring in degrees in architecture (noneducation majors [NEM], n = 89). In addition, the results were further examined between students majoring in General Education, Special Education, and School Psychology. Results indicated no significant differences in knowledge existed between EM and NEM or within EM. Of the topics investigated, participants knew the least about the treatment of dyslexia and demonstrated confusion about the components of appropriate instruction. Analysis of participant definitions revealed pervasive confusion about the characteristics of dyslexia with most believing myths that those with dyslexia “see and read backwards.” Additionally, EM rated themselves as being moderately responsible for educating students with dyslexia and believed special educators hold the greatest level of responsibility.
... A recent study by Fuchs and her colleagues (Fuchs et al., 2019) of EFL instruction in elementary school in Israel identified several challenges to effective EFL instruction: insufficient teacher training (Joshi et al. 2009a), unsuitable textbooks (Joshi et al., 2009b), and a lack of awareness of the theoretically based teaching components needed for effective literacy instruction (Goldfus, 2012;Kahn-Horwitz, 2015;Moats, 2014;Vaisman & Kahn-Horwitz, 2019). An important component that was found lacking both in teacher training and in text books is the systematic teaching of word decoding in English. ...
The current study examined the proficiency of Israeli adolescents in reading single words in English, which is taught as a foreign language, and what language skills predict individual variability. Parallel measures of word reading, phonology, decoding, morpho‐syntax and vocabulary in Hebrew and English were administered to 217 adolescents in 8th and 11th grade. Following 5–8 years of English as a foreign language instruction, participants achieved reading levels commensurate with those of third to fourth grade native English‐speaking children. Decoding and vocabulary knowledge were significant predictors of single word reading across both orthographies. Morpho‐syntactic knowledge predicted word reading only in Hebrew. Further, there was pronounced variability in the extent to which phonological awareness and vocabulary predicted word reading across languages. Low levels of reading performance underline the inherent challenge in achieving reading proficiency in the complex English orthography in a foreign language setting, with limited instruction time and suboptimal pedagogy. Decoding and vocabulary are identified as important universal processes in reading, whereas differences in other predictors support script‐dependent processes in reading as well. What is already known about the topic Trajectories of reading acquisition and some predictors of skilled performance have been shown to be script dependent. The development of single word reading accuracy in English of young non‐L1 immersed learners is highly similar to that of native speakers. In older foreign language learners, structural similarity between the L1 and English influences literacy acquisition. What this paper adds Adolescents studying English as a foreign language showed accuracy levels of reading single words comparable with those of native speakers who were 6–8 years younger. Decoding and vocabulary knowledge were significant predictors of single word reading across both orthographies; morpho‐syntactic knowledge predicted word reading only in Hebrew. In addition, there was pronounced variability in the extent to which phonological awareness and vocabulary predicted word reading across languages. Implications for theory, policy or practice Lower levels of exposure in a foreign language setting, in addition to the complex nature of the English orthography, lead to a delay in learning to read single words. In support of script‐dependent hypotheses of the reading process, results showed that the very same individuals recruit different underlying skills for accurately reading words in Hebrew and in English. These findings, combined with the central predictive role of both vocabulary knowledge and decoding in explaining EFL word reading accuracy, indicate that explicit instruction of grapheme–phoneme correspondences in English could improve students' accurate reading.
Israel is one of many countries in which English is not the spoken language. In these countries, it is of the utmost importance for students to acquire literacy in English as a foreign language (EFL) to support their entry into higher education and enhance their social and business opportunities. However, many students do not acquire adequate literacy skills by the conclusion of their elementary school years. To obtain these skills, the curriculum as reflected in EFL textbooks must include extensive and accurate content related to the constructs of the English language. This study aimed to explore to what extent literacy instruction components, as defined by research, are incorporated into textbooks that are commonly used for teaching EFL in elementary schools in Israel according to teacher self-reports. The textbook examination was based on the research-based literacy components aligned with the Science of Reading for English as a first language and on additional EFL literacy instruction components. The findings indicate that textbooks inadequately cover theory-based instructional materials for each of the literacy components. The conclusions of this study can be used to raise awareness regarding how EFL literacy instruction in Israel may be improved by providing theory-based textbooks.
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In 43 countries, 199,097 fifteen-year-olds completed a reading comprehension test and a questionnaire. We analyzed the data using multilevel regressions of Rasch-estimated test scores to test the associations of gender and context on reading achievement among adolescents. In every country, girls outscored boys. Reading enjoyment mediated 42% of the gender effect. No other predictor significantly mediated the gender effect, Log gross domestic product per capita accounted for most of the differences across countries. Family socioeconomic status (SES), schoolmates' family SES, number of books at home, and enjoyment of reading all positively correlated with individual reading achievement. Modeling a student's likelihood of being a poor reader yielded similar results. This study suggests that a comprehensive model of reading achievement must include variables at the country, family, school, and student levels.
Chapter 2 discusses the several major theories that have contributed to the core foundations of the specialty of cognitive and behavioural psychology, including the major learning theories that are invoked when describing cognitive and behavioural conceptualizations of a particular clinical problem or disorder and extend to the recent integration of other areas relevant to contemporary learning theory. It also covers findings from developmental and interpersonal research, the neuroscientific findings regarding emotional, cognitive, and non-conscious learning, as well as alternative philosophical, cultural, and spiritual traditions that impact an individual’s learning experience.
Reading research supports the necessity for directly teaching concepts about linguistic structure to beginning readers and to students with reading and spelling difficulties. In this study, experienced teachers of reading, language arts, and special education were tested to determine if they have the requisite awareness of language elements (e.g., phonemes, morphemes) and of how these elements are represented in writing (e.g., knowledge of sound-symbol correspondences). The results were surprisingly poor, indicating that even motivated and experienced teachers typically understand too little about spoken and written language structure to be able to provide sufficient instruction in these areas. The utility of language structure knowledge for instructional planning, for assessment of student progress, and for remediation of literacy problems is discussed. The teachers participating in the study subsequently took a course focusing on phonemic awareness training, spoken-written language relationships, and careful analysis of spelling and reading behavior in children. At the end of the course, the teachers judged this information to be essential for teaching and advised that it become a prerequisite for certification. Recommendations for requirements and content of teacher education programs are presented.
To clarify the role of decoding in reading and reading disability, a simple model of reading is proposed, which holds that reading equals the product of decoding and comprehension. It follows that there must be three types of reading disability, resulting from an inability to decode, an inability to comprehend, or both. It is argued that the first is dyslexia, the second hyperlexia, and the third common, or garden variety, reading disability.
An overview of the goals of English orthography counters the misconception that its spelling is chaotic and unprincipled. Direct representation of the speaker’s phonemes is not its only goal. But even the sound-to-letter correspondences are not as inconsistent as widely believed. A survey of first-grade text vocabulary shows that spelling consistency is increased significantly if one takes into account the position of the phoneme within the syllable and the identity of the phonemes in the environment. Environmental influences within the rime are especially important. Understanding these patterns may reduce the complexity of spelling for learners and those with spelling problems.