This is a book about the struggles over reforming reading instruction and the corresponding effort to improve reading achievement in the United States over the last seven decades.
William D. Bursuck is Professor Emeritus of Specialized Education Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He obtained his Ph.D. in special education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Until his retirement in 2014, Dr. Bursuck was involved in preparing special and general education teachers to teach reading and other essential skills to students with special needs.
Craig Peck received his Ph.D. in History of Education from Stanford University in 2001. He currently chairs and teaches doctoral studies classes in the Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Peck’s research has appeared in journals such as Educational Administration Quarterly, Education and Urban Society, Teachers College Record, and Urban Education.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Teaching Reading 1955-1983: Instructional Disputes, Federal Involvement, and the Roots of Reform
Chapter 3: Experiences: Teaching Reading in Urban and Rural Settings, 1968-1978
Chapter 4: Teaching Reading 1983-2008: Reading Policy Takes Center Stage
Chapter 5: Experiences: A Thirty-Year Career in Teacher Education, 1983-2013
Chapter 6: Policy and the Personal: What We Learned from Seven Decades of Reading Instruction and Reform
About the Authors
Stop the Pendulum provides a history of reading instruction and school reform in the US since 1955. As K–12 teacher educators and university researchers, the authors share an accessible description of history and policy. Bursuck and Peck demonstrate their passion for their subject as they describe policies and reform trends and offer suggestions based on their experience to guide future efforts to improve educational reform. Through their research and vignettes, they attempt to motivate educators and policy makers to reach a consensus about how to best deliver reading instruction that meets a range of student needs in a way that teaches both decoding and comprehension skills. The authors take into account the research-based positions on all sides of the reading war. The connection they offer between history and personal experience allows readers to more deeply consider the impact of the history of reading instruction on students. Recommended. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals.
This book offers an excellent, comprehensive view of the history of reading politics and pedagogy. I wish it was going to be ready for my first cohort of urban reading specialists this summer.
The authors of Stop the Pendulum! have combined history and personal experience to create a highly informative and readable narrative of the last 50 years of the Reading Wars. Knowing the past and desiring that all children gain the gift of competent reading, educators should join the authors in choosing the “Radical Middle” where both decoding and comprehension are not just “balanced” but both are taught using the highest level of systematic, explicit instruction.