The Instructional Cohesion of Reading Lessons in Seven Basal Reading Series

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Reading Psychology



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This study was conducted to determine the instructional coherence of randomly selected reading lessons in seven basal reading series. Instructional coherence was described as “a structure which logically links instructional components of a reading lesson to one another in an organized manner.” For the analyses, 210 instructional units were randomly selected from seven basal reading series from grades 1‐6. A procedure and instrument were developed by the researchers to analyze the basals. Three raters were trained to analyze the basals. Initially, 10 units were analyzed by the three raters to check for agreement. Regression analyses and least square mean differences in the ratings for each item were checked. More training and conferencing was conducted until significant differences among raters’ ratings were eradicated. The basals were examined for explicit links in the teachers’ manuals among the traditionally accepted lesson parts: vocabulary introduction, story introduction, the story, story questions, skill lessons and enrichment. Findings indicated that each instructional unit was composed of several self‐contained mini lessons rather than representing an integrated and related unit for instruction organized around a central purpose. Lesson parts failed to make logical connections to previous or following lesson parts. It was concluded that the nature of reading lessons could be a contributing factor to the instructional “flitting” observed by Durkin (1984) in her classroom observational studies. Implications stemming from the findings were delinated for teachers, text adoption committees and publishers.