Using Basal Readers: From Dutiful Fidelity to Intelligent Decision Making


  • Peter Dewitz,

  • Jennifer Jones


When schools and teachers adopt core reading programs they can use them with fidelity or make intelligent decisions about the texts, lessons and components they select to use. The evidence suggests that these programs are not research-based documents, but rather compromises between what the research suggests about effective reading instruction and what the market wants. Given these compromises and complexity of core reading programs teachers should make decisions about what texts their students will read, what skills and strategies they will teach, and what program components they will use. Teachers should have the prerogative to move students beyond the core program into the wider world of children's literature and informational books. The article outlines eight key decisions that teachers should make.