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A Study of Initial Stages in Reading by Pre-School Children

by Arthur I. Gates & Eloise Boeker - 1923

Although experimental studies of the advanced and intermediate phases of the reading process are numerous, scant attention has been given to the initial steps in primary reading. Methods of introducing the child to the printed word are innumerable; most of them are the embodiment of some educational tradition or theoretical conception; none has more than a trifling justification in experimental fact. For example, during the past year, the opinions of many experienced primary teachers or supervisors have been received concerning the influence of the length of a word on the ease of learning. Some feel assured that short words are relatively easy; others that long ones are; others that there is no appreciable difference. Many believe that the configuration, more than the length, determines the difficulty, and among these, most seem to believe that words with tall and short letters combined, rather than words mainly tall or short, are easy to learn. Writers of systems of beginning reading show a similar disagreement. Picking up at random a half dozen books now widely used, we find two which utilize in the work of the first month no words containing more than 5 letters, most contain 2, 3, or 4; one sets 6 letters as a limit with 3 and 4 letters predominating; and three appear to give no attention to the lengths which range from 2 to 10 letters. Similar divergence of opinion may be found concerning the number of words to present in a lesson, the length of a lesson, whether and when to introduce phonics or rhymes, how frequently to review, and so on. For most of these issues, experimental data are meagre or entirely lacking.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 24 Number 5, 1923, p. 469-488
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 6052, Date Accessed: 2/28/2021 1:51:17 AM

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