American Educator: Spring 2003

  • The Early Catastrophe

    The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3 Betty Hart, Todd R. Risley

    During the 1960's War on Poverty, we were among the many researchers, psychologists, and educators who brought our knowledge of child development to the front line in an optimistic effort to intervene early to forestall the terrible effects that poverty was having on some children's academic...

  • Reading Comprehension Requires Knowledge—of Words and the World

    E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
  • The Classic Study on Poor Children's Fourth-Grade Slump

    Jeanne S. Chall, Vicki A. Jacobs

    Administrations of reading tests by NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) have since 1971 confirmed what has long been part of the commonsense and intuitive knowledge of both teachers and laypeople: Children from more economically advantaged families score significantly higher than...

  • How Words Are Learned Incrementally Over Multiple Exposures

    Steven A. Stahl
  • Oral Comprehension Sets the Ceiling on Reading Comprehension

    Andrew Biemiller

    To succeed at reading, a child must be able to identify or "read" printed words and to understand the story or text composed of those words. Both identifying words and understanding text are critical to reading success. For many children, increasing reading and school success...

  • Basal Readers

    The Lost Opportunity to Build the Knowledge That Propels Comprehension Kate Walsh
  • Filling the Great Void

    Why We Should Bring Nonfiction into the Early-Grade Classroom Nell K. Duke, V. Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ebony M. Roberts

    Data from several different sources converge on the point that informational text is scarce in primary-grade classrooms. One such source of data is the analyses of the text genres represented in basal reading series. The proportions we found reported in studies within the last two decades ranged...

  • Taking Delight in Words

    Using Oral Language to Build Young Children's Vocabularies Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, Linda Kucan

    The following exchange occurred in a first-grade classroom in February:

    Jason: Is this going to be an ordinary day?

    Ms. H: What would make it ordinary?


  • Teacher Responses That Further Build Word Knowledge

    Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, Linda Kucan

    An important element for developing children's understanding of word meanings is the teacher's reinforcement of those nascent understandings. Especially for young children it is important that the teacher give voice to the elements of developing word meaning that may be difficult for children to...