Looking with Different Eyes, Listening with Different Ears
This chapter examines current reading theory, research and tests of early reading ability. Classroom-based alternatives for evaluating the reading process are suggested. Sharon, a teacher who is implementing a whole language philosophy in her classroom, is concerned about the evaluation of her students' progress in reading. Whole language instruction operationalizes the whole-to-part philosophy through the integration of reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing. The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests provide an example of how comprehension is assessed in current tests of reading ability. Traditional reading skills, for example, sight words or letter-sound correspondences are not taught as a readiness skill for later reading; rather children learn 'skills' through repeated exposure to printed stories, songs, labels, signs, and rhymes. Check-lists can also be developed for multiple areas of the reading process. Whole language instructional strategies are reflective of current knowledge in reading research and theory.