The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions

Front Cover
Pearson Education Canada, 1998 - Education - 115 pages

Grades K - 5

Jeff McQuillan has hopeful news for anyone concerned with the state of reading in U.S. schools: Contrary to popular belief, reading achievement has not been declining over the past three decades; U.S. students are not among the worst readers in the world; there is no epidemic of "reading disabilities"; and holistic, progressive approaches to literacy education have not been a wholesale failure. What's more, children are reading at the same or better level than they did a generation ago.

These are not idle claims but facts that the author supports with statistical evidence-all clearly and accessibly presented. The real problem, according to McQuillan, is a simple lack of books. While educators are engaged in the "Great Debate" over whole language or phonics-based approaches, our schools and libraries have been poorly and inequitably supplied. "While instruction can profoundly influence children and their approach to reading," says McQuillan, "the best way to explain large-scale differences in reading achievement is first to focus on the access to reading materials."

Offering a thorough explanation of the key variables in learning how to read, McQuillan identifies those elements that have the greatest impact. His lucid explanation of the Goodman/Smith reading model is complemented by a point-by-point refutation of the current pro-phonics/skills arguments that have swept schools and statehouses across the country.

Who will benefit from this book? Teachers seeking new perspective on the "reading wars." Administrators struggling to balance curriculum needs with the demand for standardized achievement tests. Parents concerned about the quality of education. In short, anyone concerned with the state of reading in America owes it to themselves-and our children-to investigate The Literacy Crisis.

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About the author (1998)

Jeff McQuillan is currently an Assistant Professor of Education at California State University, Fullerton. He has published widely in the areas of literacy development, first and second language acquisition, and bilingualism.

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