Reading comprehension instruction in five basal reader series

Durkin, Dolores
June 1981
Reading Research Quarterly;1981, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p515
Academic Journal
THE MANUALS of five basal reader programs, kindergarten through grade six, were examined in order to learn what they suggest for comprehension instruction. This was done to see whether what they offer and what was found in an earlier classroom-observation study might be similar. In the latter study, almost no comprehension instruction was seen when grade 3-6 classrooms were visited. On the other hand, considerable time went to comprehension assessment and written exercises. Like the teachers, the manuals give far more attention to assessment and practice than to direct, explicit instruction. When procedures for teaching children how to comprehend are provided, they tend to be brief. Such brevity is not unlike what was referred to in the report of the classroom-observation study as �mentioning.� This was the tendency of the observed teachers to say just enough about a topic to allow for a written assignment related to it. Other features of manuals that are similar to the teachers' behavior are discussed, and recommendations for change in these teaching guides are made.


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