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American Educator
Spring/Summer 1998


Table of Contents

The Unique Power of Reading and How to Unleash It (PDF)
Editor's Note

What Reading Does for the Mind (PDF)
By Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich

Innate ability isn't the only variable that determines cognitive competence. Reading has cascading effects on the mind, and its benefits are available to everyone.

The Elusive Phoneme
Why Phonemic Awareness Is So Important and How to Help Children Develop It
By Marilyn Jager Adams, Barbara R. Foorman, Ingvar Lundberg, and Terri Beeler

Weakness in the phonological area of language development cause 25 to 40 percent of children to have serious difficulties in learning to read and write. Finally, we know how to help them.

Catch Them Before They Fall (PDF)
Identification and Assessment to Prevent Reading Failure in Young Children

By Joseph K. Torgesen

Children who get off to a poor start in reading rarely catch up, yet few school districts have any systematic means for early identification of those at risk of reading difficulty. Here's how to change that.

Teaching Decoding (PDF)
By Louisa C. Moats

There is now broad consensus that fluent, accurate decoding is central to skilled reading. But this renewed attention to phonics won't amount to much unless it is taught well. We must avoid the problems found not only in whole-language approaches to phonics but also in traditional phonics programs.

Every Child Reading (PDF)
An Action Plan of the Learning First Alliance

This country's reading problems are largely solvable if we have the will to solve them. Here's a ten-step action plan.

Getting at the Meaning
How to Help Students Unpack Difficult Text
By Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, Rebecca L. Hamilton, and Linda Kucan

Watch fifth graders read a typical social studies text and you're likely to see their eyes glazing over and little learning taking place. How can we get students to really dig in and pull meaning from difficult text?

Another Chance (PDF)
Help for Older Students with Limited Literacy

By Jane Fell Greene

What to do with the ninth grader who reads at a third-grade level—show a video of the assigned book and accept "alternative projects" for credit? No, says the author, we should provide these students with a concentrated, ambitious, research-based literacy curriculum.

The Little Bookstore That Grew to a Thousand
By Lyric Wallwork Winik

Six years ago, we published an article about a New York City teacher who had conceived of the idea of opening a children's bookstore right inside her school building. And look what has happened since!

What Reading Does for the Soul
A Girl and Her Books
By Annie Dillard

Anyone who has ever gotten lost in a book—and then returned to this world richer for the journey—will want to read this childhood memoir by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

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Winter 1997–1998

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Fall 1998


About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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