Reading Annotated Bibliography

Contemporary Reading Research,
its Peers and Precedents

An Annotated Bibliography by Gerald Grow (1994)

To cite this bibliography:

Grow, Gerald. (1994). Contemporary Reading Research, its Peers and Precedents. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 406 643. Available on-line at <>.

Alvares, Marino C, & Risko, Victoria J. (1989). Schema activation, construction, and application. ERIC Digest. Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED 312 611.

A fine two-page digest of schema theory, with two more pages of basic references.

Anderson, Richard C. (1984). Role of the reader’s schema in comprehension, learning, and memory. In Richard C. Anderson et al. (Eds.), Learning to Read in American Schools. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

In one of the most cited articles, Anderson identifies the function and features of a schema.

Anderson, Richard C., & Armbruster, B.B. (1985). “Studying,” In P.D. Pearson (Ed.), Handbook of Reading Research. New York: Longman, pp. 657-680.

Anderson, Richard C., Spiro, Rand J., & Montague, William E. (Eds.). (1977). Schooling and the Acquisition of Knowledge. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

This volume contains some of the most important papers on reading research, including David Olson’s essay on the difference between spoken and written language; chapters on schema theory by Rummelhart & Ortony and by Spiro; Bonnie Meyer on the structure of prose; and discussion by many, including Gagné and Rummelhart.

Bartlett, F.C. (1932). Remembering. Cambridge University Press.

Classic work by a pre-behaviorist thinker surprisingly close to the conceptual revolution now in progress. Bartlett is usually credited with inventing the concept of schema.

Boulding, Kenneth. (1956). The image: Knowledge in life and society. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

One of the most influential depictions of “the world in the mind” and its influence on everything we see and know. Boulding considers worldview only one example of an organizational tendency that can be described at many levels of being–in biology, organizations, societies, economics, politics, subcultures, and self. “There are no such things as ‘facts.’ There are only messages filtered through a changeable value system” (14).

Bransford, J.D., & and Johnson, M. K. (1972). Contextual prerequisites for understanding. Some investigations of comprehension and recall.” Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 61, 717-726.

This contains the classic “balloon passage” experiment in which subjects are given a paragraph that is incomprehensible until they see a drawing which establishes the unlikely context, after which the passage becomes immediately clear.

Bruner, Jerome (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Harvard.

Bruner’s work is central in the post-behaviorist paradigm. This book recaps Bruner’s lifelong concern with the creative activity of the mind in perception and adds an emphasis on the key role of narrative in the construction of meaning.

Cantor, Nancy. (1990). From thought to behavior: “Having” and “doing” in the study of personality and cognition. American Psychologist, 45 (6), pp. 735-750.

Articles like this one will show you how widespread cognitive schema theory is. In describing the “cognitive substrate of personality” in terms of schemas (knowledge structures), tasks (goals and projections), and strategies (ways of pursuing specific tasks in specific situations), Cantor uses an approach that shares much with the cognitive, psycholinguistic explanation of reading presented in this paper.

Carey, James W. (1989). Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. Boston: Unwin Hyman.

Contains a vivid account of the historical roots of the “information transmission” model of communication which has also been rejected by recent reading theorists.

Clarke, John H. (1990). Patterns of thinking : Integrating learning skills in content teaching. Boston : Allyn and Bacon.

One of several exciting attempts to teach strategic reading (through the use of graphic organizers, of which mind maps are the most familiar example). Clarke’s graphics help picture the basic thought patterns underlying written passages.

Derry, Sharon J. (1990). Learning strategies for acquiring useful knowledge. In Dimensions of thinking and cognitive instruction, ed. Beau Fly Jones & Lorna Idol. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, p. 347 – 379.

A careful, handy summary of what cognitive psychologists say about learning, reviewing the importance of prior knowledge, schema, etc. Derry’s perspective was influenced by her work in instructional development and thus has implications for teaching.

Duin, Ann Hill. How people read: Implications for writers. Technical Writing Teacher, XV (3), 185-193.

A good example of how writing teachers are applying cognitive, constructivist ideas.

Fisher, Walter R. (1977). Human communication as narration: Toward a philosophy of reason, value, and action. Columbia: Unversity of South Carolina Press.

One of the best of a growing number of works on the importance of stories and story-forms in human thought. See also Bruner, Rosen.

Gagné, Ellen D. (1985). The cognitive psychology of school learning. Boston: Little, Brown.

Good basic introduction to cognitive psychology. Source for some of Derry, 1990.

Gagné, Robert M. (1986). Instructional technology: The research field. Journal of Instructional Development, 8 (3), pp. 7-14.

Gagné is one of the seminal thinkers in educational psychology, but dropped from most people’s sight when he turned to the more technical field of instructional development. A fine overview article by a grand old man. Instructional technology, a highly formalized, systematic approach to training, has many implications for teaching in less-structured situations.

Gardner, Howard. (1985). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, Basic Books (first published 1983).

In his modular model of mind, Gardner describes seven separate systems people have for perceiving, acting, and creating meaning–any of which can produce “genius.” The seven “intelligences” are linguistic, logical, spatial, personal, interpersonal, musical, and kinesthetic. I think of Gardner’s model as a complex extension of the simpler overview given in this article. Strangely, Gardner’s powerful ideas seem to have had little influence on education so far.

Goodman, Kenneth. (1986). What’s whole in whole language. Scholastic.

Kenneth and Yetta Goodman are leaders in the “whole language” approach to teaching reading and writing through meaningful activities, rather than through basal readers and isolated drills (an approach in which learning to write and read are interdependent). Much of the view of the “new reader” is developed and applied in their work, where its application is focused on helping young children learn to read.

Goodman, Kenneth & Yetta. (1980). Linguistics, psycholinguistics, and the teaching of reading: An annotated bibliography (3rd ed.). Newark, Del.: International Reading Association.

An extensive annotated bibliography of earlier studies that led to the psycholinguistic model of reading (described in this paper from a slightly different perspective). Some key studies (“miscue analysis”) used the mistakes people make when reading aloud to show how people read not words but meanings.

Gombrich, E. H. (1959). Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. London: Phaidon.

An brilliant example of the constructivist approach, applied to the interpretation of art. Gombrich presents a thoughtful, respectful account of perception as a creative activity.

Gregory, R. L. (1966). Eye and brain: The psychology of seeing. New York: McGraw-Hill.

A lively account of the creative mental activity involved in even the simplest act of perception. Helpful for showing that constructivist, schema-based models are rooted in physiology.

Hartman, John K. (1987). USA Today and young-adult readers: Can a new-style newspaper win them back? NRJ, 8, 2, pp. 1-11.

Holdaway, Don. Foundations of Literacy. (1979). Sydney, New York: Ashton Scholastic.

While he discusses theory well, Holdaway is highly respected for his insights into teaching kids to read, following a developmental approach.

Holly, Charles D., & Dansereau, Donald F. (1984). Spatial learning strategies: Techniques, applications, and related issues. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

Johnson, D. (1987) The body in the mind: The bodily basis of meaning, imagination and reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

An important strand in the post-information paradigm. See comments under Lakoff, below.

Knight-Ridder 25/43 Project: The transformation of an American newspaper. (1989). (Knight-Ridder brochure).

Knight-Ridder’s promotional piece describing how their newspapers are changing to serve readers better. Read it carefully for the implict theories of information-transfer, associationist psychology, and even behaviorism. Journalists have yet to grasp the implications of the cognitive, constructivist, “strategic” reader.

John-Steiner, Vera. (1987). Notebooks of the mind: Explorations of thinking. New York: Harper. First published 1985.

Like Gardner, John-Steiner presents a rich, multifaceted view of mind-the kind of view that is superceding the behaviorist and mechanistically cognitive models.

Jones, Beau Fly, & Idol, Lorna (Ed.). (1990). Dimensions of thinking and cognitive instruction. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

A big book of good, recent chapters on cognitive theory, thinking, and learning. Includes Derry (above).

Jones, Beau Fly et al. (1987) Teaching thinking skills : English/language arts. Washington, D.C. : National Education Association.

One of a growing number of teachers’ materials built on the new view of readers as active, strategic creators of meaning.

Lakoff, George. (1987). Women, fire and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind. University of Chicago Press.

The core of this remarkable book is a radical attack on most accepted views of linguistics and thought. Unlike Sausseur (whose edict–that signifiers are arbitrary and bear no relation to the signified–dominates semiotics), Lakoff develops the view (“experiential realism”) that universal experiences resulting from living in a body on this earth provide each person with concepts and images (in-out, up-down, container-contained, etc.) whose transformations produce the basis of language and thought. Johnson has a more readable, less technical book based on the same idea. Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors we live by (University of Chicago Press, 1980) should read by every writing teacher for the way it uncovers the implicit (and sometimes conflicting) metaphors that underlie expository prose.

Langer, Susanne K. (1951) Philosophy in a New Key. Harvard.

Langer and Cassierer announced the shift away from behavioristic explanations of learning and thought. Langer’s work is wide-ranging and humanistic, with a central concern for what the arts teach us about everyday mental processes. A readable, even moving book.

Kuhn, Thomas (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed.). University of Chicago Press.

Kuhn’s concept of the scientific paradigm influenced everyone’s thinking about thinking, especially as “paradigm” has been generalized to refer to the cognitive structures of everyday experience.

Mandler, Jean Matter. (1984). Stories, scripts, and scenes: Aspects of schema theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Mandler, George. (1985). Cognitive psychology: An essay in cognitive science. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

The Mandlers discuss schema theory at a greater level of detail than most authors in this list.

Mayer, Richard E. (1983). Thinking, problem solving, cognition. New York: W. H. Freeman.

A readable introduction to the field of cognitive learning theory by a practitioner. Clear summaries of nearly every issue. The chapter on schema theory is especially good as a first introduction.

McNichol, Tom, & Carlson, Margaret (May-June, 1985). Al Neuharth’s Technicolor Baby, Part II. Columbia Journalism Review, pp. 44-48.

McWhorter, Kathleen T. (1992). Efficient and flexible reading (3rd ed.), Instructor’s edition. New York: Harper Collins.

This junior college textbook is an outstanding example of how concepts from the research literature are already being applied in the classroom (teaching readers, for example, to make predictions and connections). McWhorter makes a useful distinction between skimming for the author’s main ideas (what this paper calls activating a schema) and scanning to locate specific information you are seeking (filling the slots of the active schema). After chapters on reading textbooks and reading expressive writing, one wishes for a chapter on reading journalistic writing. Who will write that chapter?

Mencher, Melvin. (1991). News reporting and writing (5th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown.

Paivio, Allan. (1986). Mental representations: A dual coding theory. Oxford: Clarendon.

Rather technical accounts of what Paivio is famous for: experiments showing that people process experience simultaneously in verbal and visual modes.

Pearson, P. David (Ed.). (1984). Handbook of Reading Research. New York: Longman.

Helpful articles on many topics including an overview of reading research, models of reading, schema theory (R.C. Anderson & Pearson), the structure of text, metacognition, studying, and others.

Pehrsson, Robert S., & Denner, Peter R. (1989). Semantic Organizers. Rockville, MD: Aspen Publishers.

One of several valuable books by educators using visual aids to help reading, learning, thinking, and writing. See Clarke for another.

Perkins, David N. (May, 1986). Thinking frames. Educational Leadership, pp. 4-10.

A summary article by Howard Gardner’s associate, on a rather narrow but useful view of “frames”–which is what researchers call the highly organized information structures we are know in such forms as scoreboards and election return charts.

Peters, John D. (1988). Information: Notes toward a critical history. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 12, (2), pp. 9-23.

A cranky, splendid attack, based on critical theory, on the concept of information and its hidden assumptions.

Polanyi, Michael. (1966). The tacit dimension. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday)

Polanyi brought respectability and depth to the idea of non-verbal, non-conscious ways of knowing.

Popper, Karl R. (1966). Objective knowledge: An evolutionary approach. New York: Doubleday.

Popper’s ideas on mind, like those of Polanyi, Kuhn, Bartlett, Bruner, and Vygotsky, have fired the new view of the reader. A difficult writer, Popper’s ideas are summarized in Bryan Magee, Popper (London: Fontana, 1973).

Rodriguez, Richard. (1981). The hunger of memory: The education of Richard Rodriguez. Boston: D.R. Godine.

A significant book for multicultural awareness, Rodriguez’ autobiography documents how becoming educated cost him his native identity and thus cautions against using literacy as way of colonizing other cultures.

Rosen, Harold. (1986). The importance of story, Language Arts, 63, 3, 226-237.

A good reference on the concept of the brain as a narrative device and the importance of storytelling in writing. Also see Bruner.

Rumelhart, David E., & Norman, Donald A. (1978). Accretion, tuning, and restructuring: Three modes of learning. In J. W. Cotton & R. L. Klatzky (Eds.), Semantic factors in cognition. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 37-54.

An early example of the generative power of schema theory. Summarized in this paper. Same ideas were expressed earlier by Boulding and Piaget.

Rumelhart, David E. (1980). Schemata: The building blocks of cognition. In R.J. Spiro, B.C. Bruce, & W.C. Brewer (Eds.), Theoretical issues in reading comprehension (pp. 33-58). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Rummelhart offers a valuable schema-explanation of three ways readers fail to understand text: Readers may lack the necessary schemata; Authors may fail to provide enough clues; Readers may arrive at a coherent interpretation of the text, only not the one the author intended. A good example of the kinds of explanations arrived at through a schema approach to reading.

Schreiver, Karen A. Document Design from 1980 to 1990: Challenges that Remain. Berkeley, CA: Center for Study of Writing, Technical Report No. 39. (Also appeared in Technical Communication, 36 (4), 316-333.

A valuable 15-page overview of issues in document design, including many topics relevant to reading research. (Document design is “the theory, research and practice of creating comprehensible, usable and persuasive texts.”) Schreiver identifies several “key clusters” of research, including research focused on writers, on readers, on text design, on text evaluation, and on communication technologies. Includes nearly 200 references, each discussed in the text. As one of her research questions for the 1990s, Schreiver lists “How can research on reading best be applied to document design?”

Segal, Judith W., Chipman, Susan F., & Glaser, Robert (1985). Thinking and Learning Skills: Vol. I: Relating Instruction to Research. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Smith, Frank (1983). Essays into literacy: Selected papers and some afterthoughts. London: Heinemann.

Smith, Frank (1985). Reading (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press.

Smith, Frank (1988). Understanding reading: A psycholinguistic analysis of reading and learning to read (4th edition). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Frank Smith is the author to read for background to this subject. A former journalist, Smith renders others’ ideas into vivid prose and advocates his position without obfuscation. Smith has synthesized a “psycholinguistic” view of reading (and writing) built on the concept that perception is filtered and formed by mental models. He seems to have read everything and differentiates his views from those of other researchers. “Hard” research on eye movement, etc., is part of Smith’s theory. Understanding Reading is the key textbook. Reading presents the same ideas without the technical documentation. Essays Into Literacy contains several worthwhile chapters, especially 13, where he attacks the information-processing theory of reading. Throughout, Smith shows a healthy skepticism for the computer metaphors inherent in much schema theory and cognitive psychology.

The extensive Notes to Understanding Reading give brief summaries of nearly everyone who has written in the field. It also has a useful glossary.

Spivey, Nancy Nelson. (1990). Transforming texts: Constructive processes in reading and writing. Written Communication, 7 (2), 256-287.

Spivey discusses the constructive activities of organizing, selecting, and connecting as keys to what writers and readers do. A good example of how constructivist theory is influencing research on reading and writing, as well as how difficult these ideas are to apply and test in detail.

Vaughn, Joseph L. Concept structuring: The technique and empirical evidence. In Holly, Charles D., & Dansereau, Donald F. (1984). Spatial learning strategies: Techniques, applications, and related issues. Orlando, FL: Academic Press. p. 127 – 147

Good example of the kind of experiments that can be done to measure the effectiveness of different kinds of textual organization (derived from different theories about how people read).

von Glaserfeld, E. (1987). Constructivism as a scientific method. New York: Pergamon Press.

Everyone needs a hard-core constructivist as a point of reference. Von Glaserfield is elegant, sophisticated, and almost convincing.

Vygotsky, Lev Semenovich. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Edited by Michael Cole, Vera John-Steiner, Sylvia Schribner, and Ellen Souberman. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Vygotsky, Lev Semenovich. (1962). Thought and language, (Ed. and trans. Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar). Cambridge, Mass.: The M.I.T. Press. (Originally published in Russian in 1934).

Vygotsky is required reading. Extraordinary insights into language and thought. Kills the behaviorist “subliminal speech” theory of thought and replaces it with a view of thought as compressed, non-grammatical, high-speed, multimodal processing of deep structures that develop from social interaction as much as from genetics or individual experience. Wide ranging, provocative insights from one of the seminal minds of contemporary psychology.

Articles and Creative Work