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Lecture: "Are Hard Books Good for Children?" Dick Allington, Ph.D.

The 4th Annual Esteves School of Education Spring Speaker Series welcomes Dick Allington, professor of literacy studies at the University of Tennessee and past president of the International Reading Association and the Literacy Research Association, to address the current push to increase the levels of difficulty of school texts.

Date: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Time: 7:30 pm

Duration: 2 hours

Location: Bush Memorial Center -- Troy Campus

Contact: 244-2326

Dick AllingtonThere is a current push to increase the levels of difficulty of school texts. The flawed rationale for this initiative was said to be a decreasing level of difficulty in school texts. At least for texts used in grades 3 and 6, no such decrease is evident. The two studies using difficult texts to produce reading growth involved either 1 to 1 tutoring, 1 to 1 assisted reading, or repeated teacher and student read alouds of the texts. On the other hand, studies using reading level matched texts produce reading growth with no special adaptations to instruction. Given that school texts have not become easier and that little research suggests harder texts will improve reading development (when compared to reading level matched texts) teachers should question any attempt to impose more difficult texts on students in the elementary grades.

Dick has been principal investigator on a number of research projects funded by the U.S. Office of Educational Research and Improvement, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, and the National Institutes of Health. He received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from IRA and the William S. Gray Citation of Merit for his contributions to the profession. He has been twice co-recipient of the Albert J. Harris Award in recognition of his research contributing to the understanding of reading and learning disabilities, and has been named to the Reading Hall of Fame.

Dick currently serves on several editorial boards including Reading Research Quarterly, the Journal of Educational Psychology, Remedial and Special Education, and the Journal of Disabilities Policy. He is author of several books, including What Really Matters for Struggling Readers (PearsonAllynBacon), the Handbook of Reading Disability Research(Routledge) co-edited with Anne McGill-Franzen, and most recently, Summer Reading: Closing the rich/poor reading achievement gap (Teachers College Press).