The Reading Teacher
© 2013 International Reading Association
The Reading Teacher is an open forum for educators interested in literacy instruction for children through age 12. Articles are written for teachers, and deal with practical teaching ideas that are grounded in theory and research. Reviewers should familiarize themselves with the guidelines below, and then read the “How to Review” information.
Be constructive. Reviews should be professional and courteous. Authors invest a great deal in their manuscripts, and your comments to them should be helpful and instructive. If you recommend rejection, provide feedback for improvement or for future studies or articles. You might also suggest other publication outlets.
Be scholarly. Substantiate your judgments; don’t simply offer opinions. Focus on content, style, reasoning, and audience appropriateness. Is the manuscript original? Does it provide a fresh view or synthesis of existing knowledge? Does it convey the intended message clearly and concisely? Is the literature review adequate? Provide citations when you refer to published sources.
Be a reviewer, not a copy editor. Focus on the big issues. Rather than pointing out every flaw, detail only those that most support your recommendation of revision or rejection. However, if the form is so poor that revision would require starting over, rejection is justifiable. Do not spend time noting errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Editorial staff will handle these details.
Be specific. Comments should inform authors and editors of the rationale for your recommendation. Provide authors with substantive, concrete suggestions about the strengths and weaknesses of their work. Regardless of your recommendation, offer extensive comments so that the editors can fairly adjudicate a manuscript in the event of conflicting reviews.
Be open-minded. You may be asked to review a manuscript that employs a theoretical or methodological orientation or cultural perspective different from your own. Evaluate it on its own terms, but don’t hesitate to indicate how it might benefit from your perspective.
Be ethical. Our review standard is “double blind”: Neither authors nor reviewers are revealed to one another. If you discern an author’s identity, the integrity of the review process may be compromised. Please inform journals staff about the conflict of interest.
Manuscripts under review are confidential. Do not discuss, circulate, or quote from manuscripts except in communication with the editors or journals staff. If you are concerned that the material under review has been previously published, alert journals staff.
Be mindful of length. Full-length manuscripts should not exceed 6,000 words (appx. 20 pages). Teaching Tips pieces are typically 1,500 words and focus on a single research-based classroom strategy. Note if the manuscript includes material not essential to its purpose. If you recommend revisions that will extend the text, point the author to nonessential sections that could be deleted or condensed.
Be timely. Always complete your evaluation by the date indicated. If you are unable to do so, contact journals staff immediately.
Be available. Editorial Review Board members review once or twice per month; ad hoc members review as needed, up to 4 or 5 times per year. RT receives over 400 manuscripts annually. Each article is considered by two Editorial Review Board members and one ad hoc reviewer; Teaching Tips are considered by two board members. Appointment to the Editorial Review Board is for the calendar year, and precedes the volume year (September to May) in which members are listed in the journal. (See current members.) Ad hoc reviewers are acknowledged in the final issue of each volume.
Be wired. High-speed Internet connection, e-mail, and up-to-date browser software are required as manuscript review is conducted online. Be in touch. Please inform journals staff of changes in affiliation or extended absences. Keep your contact information current by updating your reviewer profile in the online system. Contact staff any time with questions or concerns. We value your feedback!
Invitation. You will be e-mailed an invitation to review a manuscript.
Response. Indicate that you agree, decline, or are unavailable to review by clicking the response link in the invitation or by contacting IRA publications staff. Once you respond, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. If you do not receive this e-mail, contact publications staff. You may receive reminders until your response is confirmed.
Confirmation. When you agree to review, your confirmation e-mail will provide the review deadline and your log-in information for Manuscript Central, the online review system. (This log-in may differ from your IRA website log-in; these are separate systems.) The manuscript will then be listed in your Reviewer Center.
Extensions. If you are unable to return a review by the deadline, contact publications staff about an extension.
Reassignment. If you miss the deadline and have not contacted staff, the manuscript will be assigned to another reviewer.
Comments. Prepare your comments offline, then copy and paste them into your online score sheet. When working online, click on “Save as Draft” often to save your comments. This will also allow you to return later and complete the review.
Complete your review. Click on “Submit” at the bottom of the score sheet. You will then receive an e-mail confirming receipt of your review. You can follow the progress of manuscripts you have reviewed by logging into your Reviewer Center.
Revisions. If an author is invited to revise and resubmit a manuscript, every effort will be made to send the revision to the same reviewers who commented on the original submission.