Virtually all of the debate about teaching word recognition seems unnecessary. The results of research, teaching experience, and common sense all point in the same direction -- a need for balance and moderation. Reading divorced from meaning simply is not reading. Reading involves the construction of meaning, and that meaning is constructed from two primary sources -- the print that has been created by an author and the various types of knowledge that the reader brings with him or her. A complete and effective program of beginning reading instruction must provide students with the strategies and skills needed to identify the printed words as a prerequisite to actively, dynamically, and critically constructing meaning.

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