The Teaching of Reading

  • Barbara R. Foorman
  • Kristi L. Santi
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

Recent international studies of reading have expanded our understanding of how writing systems (orthographies) map onto spoken language (phonology) and the processes by which understanding of written language occurs (Rayner, Foorman, Perfetti, Pesetsky, & Seidenberg, 2001; Snowling & Hulme, 2005). From an international perspective, the teaching of reading is first and foremost a matter of grain size — the size of the orthographic unit that maps to the relevant phonological unit. Ziegler and Goswami (2005) argue that in English alphabetic letters map to multiple phonological units — whole words, onsets and rimes, and phonemes, and that, consequently, learning to read in English is more complex than learning to read in languages with a match in grain size, such as Finnish, Italian, Spanish, German, and Greek (Seymour, Aro, & Erskine, 2003).

In the United States, the teaching of reading has become a matter of public policy with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; Public Law No. 107–110) and its provisions for closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children by holding schools accountable for achievement results and requiring that teachers be highly qualified (Foorman, Kalinowski, & Sexton, 2007). The Reading First component of NCLB targets beginning reading instruction and is based on consensus documents summarizing over 30 years of research (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000; National Research Council, 1998; RAND Reading Study Group, 2002). In this chapter we have two broad objectives to (a) explain what is known scientifically about learning to read English, and (b) summarize research on reading instruction.


Reading Comprehension Phonemic Awareness Oral Reading Oral Reading Fluency English Orthography 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara R. Foorman
    • 1
  • Kristi L. Santi
    • 2
  1. 1.Florida Center for Reading ResearchFlorida State UniversityTallahassee32301
  2. 2.The Santi GroupHouston

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