ERIC Number: ED345202
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Literature-Based Reading Series for Grades K-3: Are They Truly Literature?
Donoghue, Mildred R.
In its current adoptions of reading series for the elementary grades, California has chosen literature-based programs rather than the more traditional basal readers. A study investigated whether the contents of such readers for grades K-3 truly consist solely of literary selections, since it is well-recognized that quality books carry heavy vocabulary loads far beyond those of beginning students. It was hypothesized that the series approved for the lower grades would contain chiefly so-called interesting storybook materials and not children's literature. The tables of contents of 40 kindergarten-primary books in the 1989 editions of 5 major reading series were examined. A point scale was devised in which points were given when the author's or author-illustrator's name; the title of the story, poem, or article; or the series it was part of was mentioned as exemplary in any of four books on children's literature (by Bernice Cullinan, Joan Glazer, John Stewig, and Zena Sutherland, authorities in the field). Results confirmed the hypothesis: only 17.4% to 29.5% of the total contents (depending on the particular series) was rated as literature using this approach. In other words, these beginning reading books can be described as a collection of engaging but undistinguished printed matter. (Four figures and seven tables of data are included. (Author/SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revised version of a paper presented at the Meeting of the Washington Organization for Reading Development (Tacoma, WA, March 1992).