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Reading, History of

  • By: Sandra K. Goetze, Jennifer Sanders & Lucy E. Bailey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

The history of reading curriculum encompasses political and ideological forces as well as research and theory on fundamentals of the reading process. Although adults have used varied techniques to help children interpret symbols and language for thousands of years, U.S. educators did not develop formal, systematic reading curricula until the common schools emerged in the 1820s. The expansion of public education, technological advancements in printing, and the growing importance of print culture in the 19th century increased opportunities to read and advanced reading as a field of study. Despite these advancements, sharp inequities in reading opportunities and access to materials endure today; social prescriptions of who can and should read have been linked to race, socioeconomic class, gender, citizenship, and nationality. Historically, reading curricula have ...

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