Cover image for Reading instruction that works : the case for balanced teaching
Reading instruction that works : the case for balanced teaching
Pressley, Michael.
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Publication Information:
New York : Guilford Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
298 pages ; 24 cm
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LB1573 .P72 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The first comprehensive study of balanced literacy teaching, this book demonstrates how effective reading instruction combines aspects of both skill and whole language approaches. Noted teacher educator Michael Pressley interjects a voice of reason into current polarizing debates on the "one best way" to teach reading, synthesizing insights and data from a variety of disciplinary perspectives to provide the scientific basis for an eclectic approach. Extensively referenced chapters cover topics including the various components of both whole language and skills instruction; how the balanced approach is applied in real classrooms; the stimulation of literacy from the primary level through the middle and upper elementary grades; motivational issues and strategies; and more.

Author Notes

Michael Pressley, PhD, who passed away in May 2006, was University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, as well as Director of the Doctoral Program in Teacher Education and Director of the Literacy Achievement Research Center, with both roles part of his professorship in the Department of Teacher Education and the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education. He was an expert on effective elementary literacy instruction, with his research appearing in more than 300 journal articles, chapters, and books. Dr. Pressley served a 6-year term as editor of Journal of Educational Psychology. He was honored with awards from the National Reading Conference, the International Reading Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Psychological Association, among others. Dr. Pressley received the 2004 E. L. Thorndike Award from Division 15 of the American Psychological Association, the highest award given for career research accomplishment in educational psychology.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Which is better--Whole Language or Skilled Reading? Why do some children experience problems in learning to read? What are the factors that occur before reading instruction begins? How are words recognized by beginning readers? What is the case for balanced teaching with regard to reading instruction that works? Simply stated by Pressley (psychology, Univ. of Notre Dame), "The overarching conclusion of this book is that balanced elementary instruction--that is, a balancing of whole language and skills components--seems more defensible than instruction that is only immersion in reading and writing, on the one hand, or predominantly skills driven, on the other." The debate will probably continue over which model for teaching reading is best. Nevertheless, through much research, many references, and the comprehensiveness of this text, the author quite ably makes his case. Much of the book is about how good reading, built on a reader's prior knowledge about the world, involves the learning and use of word-recognition and comprehension strategies. This reviewer fully believes that this book will aid individuals in understanding that reading instruction can work if there is a balance between whole language and skills components. Recommended for undergraduate and graduate students; faculty; researchers; and professionals. V. K. Lester; Tuskegee University

Table of Contents

1 Whole Language
2 Skilled Reading
3 Children Who Experience Problems in Learning to Read
4 The Development of Literacy, Part 1: Before Reading Instruction Begins
5 The Development of Literacy, Part 2: Learning to Recognize Words
6 The Development of Literacy, Part 3: Expert Primary-Level Teaching of Literacy Is Balanced Teaching
7 The Development of Literacy, Part 4: The Need for Increased Comprehension Instruction in Upper Elementary Grades
8 Motivation and Literacy
9 Concluding Reflections...For the Time Being