For decades, researchers have been trying to figure out how to teach children how to read. You will begin a 9-article journey that will help you understand how we got to the Common Core Learning Standards. We are going to analyze the mediated actions taken by humans who have thought about reading instruction using a tool called a genetic analysis.

According to Wertch (1993), one can perform a genetic analysis to understand the mediated actions of humans using a Vygotskian approach. This approach is "motivated by the assumption that it is possible to understand many aspects of mental functioning only if one understands their origin and the transitions they have undergone" (p. 19, emphasis mine). Vygotsky believed that higher mental functioning is unique to humans and is illustrated when human action is mediated by "tools and by sign systems" (p. 21, emphasis mine). We will look at how humans thought about reading instruction through a "sociocultural lens."

You will attempt to understand a few mediated actions of humans contained in 9 articles. This is not an exhaustive list of articles and is meant to give you an idea of how people have thought about reading since the 1980s.

bTlogo.gif We will read these articles, one article/week.

We will read:
  • 1. The Purpose of Basals: What Children Think (Cairney, 1988)

  • 2. Let's move toward literature-based reading instruction (Fuhler, 1990)

  • 3. Another look at literature-based instruction (Palardy, 1997)

  • 4. Balanced instruction: Insights and considerations (Freppon & Dahl, 1998)

  • 5. Whole language works: Sixty years of research (Daniels, Zemelman, & Bizar, 1999)

  • 6. Research-based reading instruction: Myths about the National Reading Panel report (Shanahan, 2003)

  • 7. The reading wars (Pearson, 2004)

  • 8. Reclaiming literacy instruction: Evidence in support of literature-based programs (Arya, Martens, Wilson, Altweger, Jin, Laster & Lang, 2005)

  • 9. If I Follow the Teachers' Editions, Isn't That Enough? Analyzing Reading Volume in Six Core Reading Programs (Brenner & Hiebert, 2010)