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Developing Research-Based Resources for the Balanced Reading Teacher

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We love getting mail.  Sometimes we get questions, sometimes we get constructive criticism, and sometimes we get warm fuzzies.  We love all of it, but we like to hear that we are producing a useful resource most of all.

Here are some of the comments we have received about the BalancedReading.com site:

I just discovered this website.  I love it! We are reading soulmates!

Just a comment: I have been working on vocabulary instruction for almost a yr -- read many articles (including Stahl's fine book) and taught an entire graduate course on the topic.  I think you did a first-rate job of identifying the most important issues on this complex topic in a very clear, quick and accessible way.

Thank you for reminding me to think beyond the great debate.  You gave me my first real "aha" moment after slogging through reading research for 18 months.  Keep up the great work!

Very interesting content on your site.

Thank you for your very informative website.  As a second grade teacher I look forward to reading through all of the topics presented here.

This site has it all!  Thanks.

I love this web site.  I am going to try to download the assessment at work. I work in a first grade classroom for one half day and I do literacy intervention for the second half of the day with first graders. I will switch to kindergarteners next month. This site is a big help.  Thank you for making it available and FREE!

I think this site is great.

 Hi.  Thank you for sharing a lot of great information.

Congratulations on a very necessary site.  excellent material

I love your web site.  It has been so helpful!  Our school received the REA grant this year and it's nice to be able to read researched based info. to support it.  Thanks

So far I am impressed with your site. 

Interesting information about reading software, but I was wondering why no mention of Fast ForWord - which is an extremely strong research based, product that not only helps with phonemic awareness and skills necessary for reading fluency, but also cross trains many other aspects of language, helpful to reading comprehension.

I appreciate your efforts to provide a comprehensive site addressing the issue of appropriate early literacy assessments.

Great site.  I can see it will be very useful for staff development.

Finally, here is a letter I received through the Discussion Forum, and my reply:

I am a graduate student in the reading program at Marshall University.  I would like to know why you beleive your sight is helpful to teachers and/or parents.  I am currently researching literacy education sights as part of a class.

I think BalancedReading.com is helpful because there are not very many freely-available resources out there that effectively distill complicated information about literacy research into common-sense, understandable language.  Researchers tend to write for researchers, and most teachers are not very comfortable sifting through technical research journals to get research-based information about reading instruction.

The result of this, I believe, is that a lot of charlatans have been allowed to run amok in the world of reading education, portraying themselves as reading and literacy "experts."  They promote ideas and practices that are completely contrary to research evidence, and sadly, they are simply better than most reputable researchers at selling their ideas to educators.

There are a lot of very harmful myths and snake-oil in the world of reading education, and the research community has not been very effective at countering those bogus beliefs and practices and guiding educators toward research-based, effective practices.  I think that BalancedReading.com goes a long way towards dispelling those myths, cutting through the vitriol and rhetoric of the "great debate," and helping educators to access high-quality research evidence they can use to guide their instruction.

Also, BalancedReading.com is one of the few literacy education resource sites that has no advertising sponsorship, and does not exist for the purpose of selling any particular product.  Information and resources on BalancedReading.com, in other words, are unbiased and trustworthy.  They represent the culmination of a large body of convergent research evidence.  Fads and quick fixes have no place on BalancedReading.com.

I created BalancedReading.com about 5 years ago, and it has been a creative outlet for me to share my passion about using research to improve literacy education with the rest of the world.  When I created BalancedReading.com, I hoped that other reading researchers would join in and add to the collection of information, materials, and resources, but so far there has been very little of that.  Overall, however, I think that BalancedReading.com has been a remarkable success.  Currently, the site is getting about 100,000 "hits" per month, which tells me that there is a substantial demand for this kind of understandable, unvarnished research information.

Thanks for your question, and good luck on your project.

Thanks everyone, and keep those letters coming!

BalancedReading.com  •  P. O. Box 300471  •  Austin, TX  78703

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Last Updated 8-7-03