LINGUIST List 15.2958
Tue Oct 19 2004
Books: Applied Ling/Cog Sci/Psycholing: Smith
Editor for this issue: Megan Zdrojkowski <meganlinguistlist.org>
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Understanding Reading: Smith
Message 1: Understanding Reading: Smith
Susan Barker <Susan.Barker
Understanding Reading: Smith
Title: Understanding Reading
Subtitle: A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Reading and Learning to Read, Sixth
Publication Year: 2004
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Author: Frank Smith
Hardback: ISBN: 0805847111 Pages: 392 Price: U.S. $ 79.95
Paperback: ISBN: 080584712X Pages: 392 Price: U.S. $ 35.00
Understanding Reading revolutionized reading research and theory when the
first edition appeared in 1971 and continues to be a leader in the field.
In the sixth edition of this classic text, Smith's purpose remains the
same: to shed light on fundamental aspects of the complex human act of
reading--linguistic, physiological, psychological, and social--and on what
is involved in learning to read.
The text critically examines current theories, instructional practices, and
controversies, covering a wide range of disciplines but always remaining
accessible to students and classroom teachers. Over half the book is
devoted to such topics as language, memory, learning, the development of
spoken language ability, and the physiology of the eye and brain--only to
the extent that they are relevant to reading, and with the intent of making
these topics comprehensible to readers who have neither the time nor the
experience to undertake deep or specialized study in these areas. Careful
attention is given to the ideological clash that continues between whole
language and direct instruction and currently permeates every aspect of
theory and research into reading and reading instruction.
The first edition set out to be an objective review of every field of study
that had anything relevant to say about reading and about learning to read,
with the uncomplicated aim of "understanding reading." But it is impossible
to write a book about reading, however detached the intention, without
being caught in the crossfire of debates about how reading should be
taught. In every edition, including the present one, Smith has steadfastly
resisted giving teachers a recipe for teaching reading, while aiming to
help them make their own decisions based on research about reading, which
is accessible to anyone, and their experience and personal knowledge of
their students, which only they possess. To aid readers in making up their
own minds, each chapter concludes with a brief statement of "Issues."
What's new in the Sixth Edition?
*If, as Smith proposes, the facts remain the same and the main
controversies persist (what it means to be a reader, how written words are
recognized, and how children learn to read), what justifies a new edition?
Recent developments include changes in perspectives applied to
understanding reading and a hardening of positions. The direct instruction
view of reading and the pedagogical and political assumptions and agendas
behind it has gained ascendence, and with it widespread mandates for
accountability, standardization, high-stakes testing, and external control
of classroom instruction and teacher education. The disputes have turned
political. These changes are critically discussed.
*A new chapter 1 on why reading is natural opens the book.
*Most of the major changes are in the Notes. The order of the chapters and
the general thrust of the discussion remain the same.
*All references have been thoroughly updated, with over 200 added and 500
Understanding Reading: A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Reading and Learning
to Read, Sixth Edition, is designed to serve as a handbook for language
arts teachers, a college text for basic courses on the psychology of
reading, a guide to relevant research on reading, and an introduction to
reading as an aspect of thinking and learning. It is matchless in
integrating a wide range of topics relative to reading while, at the same
time, being highly readable and user-friendly for instructors, students,
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)
See this book announcement on our website:
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