'Where Is the Action?' Challenges to Studying the Teaching of Reading in Elementary Classrooms

Mar. 25, 2009

Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 38, No. 2, 100-108 ( March 2009).

The authors argue that part of the difficulty in studying the teaching of reading in elementary classrooms is determining where "the action" occurs in reading instruction. The authors conducted a 5-year longitudinal study of fourth- and fifth-grade teachers in moderate- and high-poverty elementary schools. Based on this study, they describe three challenges: (a) determining key factors in the complex instructional environment that should be the focus of study, (b) determining who teaches reading to specific students, and (c) determining the boundaries of reading instruction or when it occurs during the school day and year. The authors argue that these challenges, although not insurmountable, are difficult to resolve and that they are becoming more pervasive because of current policies that promote high-stakes accountability.

Updated: Jun. 02, 2009