ERIC Number: ED241904
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
NAEP Literacy Data: Students Deficient in Using Language. Why?
Williamson, Leon E.
Concerned with what can be done to help produce more thoughtful, critical readers, this report first presents an historical overview of theories on the origin of language, referring to B. F. Skinner, Noam Chomsky, and Jean Piaget, among others. It then discusses biological reasons for the evolution of language and the impact of verbal language on human cognitive development, concluding that a major function of language is to deperceptualize--to create distance from one's immediate perception of reality with the help of previous experiences and knowledge. The report suggests that poets, philosophers, theologians, artists, and scientists have learned to harness the power of the brain through language. It then cites literacy data collected by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicating that students during the 1970s were perceptually bound. The perceptual theories informing reading instruction, the report claims, did not promote students' abilities to analyze texts and thus deepen their understanding. After reviewing instructional strategies and reading models based on both perceptual and cognitive theories, the report concludes that reading is a process driven by language rather than by perception or intuitive cognition, and offers suggestions for increasing the language emphasis in reading instruction. An extensive bibliography is included in the report. (MM)
Descriptors: Biological Influences, Child Language, Cognitive Development, Decoding (Reading), Evolution, Intellectual History, Language Acquisition, Language Processing, Language Research, Linguistic Theory, Literacy, Models, Perceptual Motor Learning, Reading Ability, Reading Comprehension, Reading Instruction, Reading Processes, Reading Research
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: National Assessment of Educational Progress
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association (28th, Anaheim, CA, May 2-6, 1983).