Reading Research and Theory

History and Present Status
  • Steven Schwartz


The overwhelming importance of reading in our society is a fairly recent phenomenon. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, reading was considered a luxury reserved for the upper classes and church officials. The working classes were either not taught to read or they were taught only enough to permit them to recognize and respond to familiar materials such as the catechism (Resnick & Resnick, 1977). In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, industrialization and the rise of democratic governments in France and in America created the need for an educated population to do a variety of new skilled jobs and to carry out the duties of citizens in a democracy. Mass education lead to a concern for those who were falling behind and, in time, for measures of cognitive skills. Medical science also made great strides in the nineteenth century. Anatomical and physiological investigations into the visual and neural systems led to speculations about their role in reading disorders. Researchers continue to be active in these areas today.


Visual Defect Learning Disability Poor Reader Reading Disability Reading Instruction 
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 New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Schwartz
    • 1
  1. 1.University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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