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Jeanne S. Chall and 'The Great Debate'

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Peggy Semingson

on 12 October 2011

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Transcript of Jeanne S. Chall and 'The Great Debate'

Changing 'The Great Debate': Jeanne Chall's Evolving Philosophy Across Three Editions
Peggy Semingson, Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Arlington
Literacy Research Association 2010
peggys@uta.edu “It is sad to think that we go through the same debates over and over again and that we seem to learn so little from the past” (Jeanne S. Chall, 1991, p. 48). Paper Overview

Chall’s eminence as a literacy scholar

Prominent ideas in The Great Debate (1967)

Changes across the three editions

Chall’s reflection on her own work

Connections to currents trends in research
http://www.gse.harvard.edu/library/collections/special/index.html. 1. Personal response and commentary: What are your own thoughts on the code-emphasis approach and the teaching of beginning reading now?

How have your thoughts been influenced by Chall? How do does your philosophy align or disalign with that of Chall?
The evolution of meaning-centered and whole language approaches:

How has the use and enactment of the meaning-centered approach (as she described it in her early years and as evidenced in LEA, individualized reading, or possibly look-say/sight word type approaches) and the later "whole language" movement (as defined and supported by Ken Goodman and others) changed from across the time period that Chall situates her work? (1967-1996)?

Who were the individuals who were least likely to support Chall's position
Connections to the present:

How have debates about phonics instruction changed between Chall's day and today? Did Chall influence the field? Does The Great Debate stand the test of time?

Would Chall's recommendations promote greater NAEP scores today?
Activist Scholar Reader Writer Synthesizer Historian Stage model of reading development 'Fourth-grade slump' Families in poverty and literacy learning Role of evidence-based research in learning to read Need to connect theory, practice, and publishers (basals) The role of textbooks in reading instruction and the need
for challenge (vocabulary) *Role of code-emphasis approaches to the teaching of
beginning reading Dyslexia and reading difficulties
(across the age spectrum) Tutoring and clinical settings (Chall Reading Lab) Chall's Major Ideas Jeanne S. Chall Research Grant, Harvard University, 2009-2010
“The purpose of this grant is to provide a stipend for a scholar to spend a period of time (from 2-8 weeks) at Harvard University to conduct research utilizing the Jeanne S. Chall Collection on the Teaching of Reading at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Monroe C. Gutman Library, as well as other extensive reading resources available at the Library and elsewhere at the University.” http://www.gse.harvard.edu/library/collections/special/index.html http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/reading/
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