The Need for
97% Satisfactory Literacy? Obvious,
unfortunately. Anyone who has not read about
studies that demonstrate the vast numbers of young
adults who cannot satisfactorily read and write and
anyone who hasn't encountered these unfortunate
people most likely will never be convinced of the
need. Those who have read the studies or read
about the studies need no convincing. The
exact definitions of what constitutes satisfactory
literacy should be left up to the decisions of the
initial planning group for The Center for the
Development of Reading Comprehension Delivery
15-Year-Old Measuring Point?
- In most states
students may quit school the moment they reach
16. To have an age older than 15 for the
measuring point would be impractical. We
need to be able to obtain satisfactory
determinations of the true percentage of those
who have attained satisfactory literacy.
It will be much easier to do this if the testing
occurs before age 16.
- Attaining a
satisfactory reading level at the end of 1st,
2nd, or 3rd grades does NOT in and of itself
mean that the student will be able to read
satisfactorily adult reading materials upon
- By focusing upon
the end product, the best minds in the field of
reading certainly should be able to come up with
a program that fits the natural continuum of the
learning-to-read process that extends beyond the
early elementary years.
- Students who
achieve a minimum reading level of 10.0 by the
time they are 16 rarely regress to an
Why Set This Goal?
business, and government leaders advocate the
use of behavioral objectives with measurable
long-term and short-term goals.
- We never would
have put a man on the moon had not President
Kennedy set a specific goal with a limited but
attainable time for completion.
- As long as we
have no definite goal, plan, or length of time
to achieve it, a satisfactory level of literacy
will not be achieved.
- Why 25 years?
There is nothing magic about the number 25, but
it is an easily remembered number and it allows
ample time to achieve the goal or to determine
the extent of its attainability.
- Accepting and
meeting challenges is an old establish American
- Without specific
challenges the status quo remains intact.
Despite all the
advances of technology, there is still a need for
the human element to respond. We still need a
physical location at which the best minds can meet,
interact, and help one another achieve the goals.
At present, AVKO believes that the center should be
located on the campus of a university that is
already equipped with an extensive library and has
existing facilities that can be utilized by the
Center and would also act as the fiscal agent for
grants. What is your choice for the host
Development and Not Study?
"Our knowledge of basic processes, while not
complete, is sufficient to allow us to begin to
apply knowledge about comprehension and instruction
to issues of reading comprehension instruction.
Moreover, even if we did not have the benefit of
basic process knowledge, we should still begin the
applied effort. Literacy is too important a
concern to allow us the luxury of waiting for
further advances in basic research" (P. David Pearson,
A Context for
Instructional Research on Reading Comprehension,
Center for the Study of Reading, University of
Illinois, 1982., p.1).
Reading Comprehension Delivery Systems?
- All major
studies conducted by the Center for the Study of
Reading and by the Institute for Research on
Teaching (Michigan State University) seem to
- Teachers tend to teach according to the
reading system already in place.
- The systems already in place have little or
no real instruction in reading comprehension.
- The publishing
industry (at a conference sponsored by the
Center for the Study of Reading) has already
said that its major responsibility is to its
stockholders and that they publish what schools
will buy. In other words, publishers are
not about to spend stockholders' money to
research and develop a delivery system.
- The best minds
in the reading field should be able to develop
an adequate delivery system for reading
comprehension if they are given the money and
the place in which to do so. If they
can't, we cannot expect publishers who lack the
expertise of reading researchers to spend
millions of dollars in today's economy on
research and development.
- The development
of delivery systems does not have to ignore
already existing commercial delivery systems.
Some publishers would welcome "free" help in a
Should the Center be Composed of Representatives of
ALL Organizations Interested in Solving the Reading
- By having each
interested organization represented, the Center
would have an automatic system for disseminating
information and for getting varied feedback.
delivery systems can be developed and tested
that reflect the different philosophies of the
- The clash of
ideologies ("The Reading Wars") may well prove
beneficial to building systems that reflect the
best ideas from opposing points of view.
may be easier when it is spread among different
organizations that would also be more interested
in contributing if they knew they were being
Multiple Funding Sources?
- To achieve
relative autonomy for the developers. No
one organization funding the project would be
able to control it. Influence, yes.
- To broaden the
base of involvement. To let the American
people know that we as a nation are doing
something tangible about the literacy problem.
- To ensure
against the possibility of the project ending
suddenly because the primary funding source
General Time Table?
Incorporation, securing of tax-exempt status,
securing initial pledges of cooperation from reading
organizations, foundations, state departments of
education, and the U.S. Department of Education.
2nd Year: Center for
the Development of Reading Comprehension Delivery
Systems to be in place with leaders drawing up
initial long range plans.
Delivery systems being created at basic rate of
three years worth of materials each year.
Experimental implementation and modification.
Continual active evaluation of between 3 and 7
different delivery systems.
Selling of the most promising delivery systems to
schools and/or publishers.
Supervision, monitoring, modifying. Evaluation
of 15-year-olds should reveal 97% satisfactory
literacy at this point. If it is achieved
before the 25 years is up, the Center will have
accomplished its goal and will disband.
have been thousands of people who have visited
this page, but NO
replies from any university, any university
professor, U.S. Department of Education official, or
reading researcher. If you personally know of
anyone who can help us get the ear of any
responsible party, please contact them for us.
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