ERIC Number: ED208385
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Oct
Is the Medical Model Making Our Children Sick--of Reading?
Heller, Marvin; Hornby, Joyce
The skills-based method of remedial reading instruction is based on a medical model, in that it focuses instructional efforts solely on "curing" what is "wrong" with a reader. Such attention to students' shortcomings and the labeling of their lack of instant success as a problem causes healthy learners to begin to doubt their own abilities, often causing students who are progressing normally to fail. A case study of sixth grade students who had previously experienced reading failure and had been labeled handicapped, presumably because of this medical model of reading instruction, found that the students were disruptive and exhibited reading avoidance behavior. Their teacher replaced the medical model with an approach that provided the students with a genuine need to seek information by reading and with encouragement for work done rather than recognition of shortcomings. A design for success was arranged in a conference with each student, his or her parents, and the teacher in which goals and activities were planned. Students were expected to read what they could and attention was focused on what they had achieved. The students' self-concepts soon improved because they were more frequently and more productively involved in small group and whole class activities rather than working in isolation on specialized practice sheets to improve subskills. Behavioral changes attributed to this approach included reduced reading avoidance behavior and a genuine interest in reading for recreation. (Guidelines for using this approach in the classroom are included.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Plains Regional Conference of the International Reading Association (9th, Des Moines, IA, October 22-24, 1981).