Engaging the new basal readers

Sarah J. McCarthey, James V. Hoffman, Cheryl Christian, Laura Corman, Bonnie Elliott, Debra Matherne, Debra Stahle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes ratings and ranking by both researchers and children of the new and old basal text series and then describes categories of students’ responses to the texts. Using the perspective of engagement, the authors found that the 1993 basal reading series received higher ratings than thel986/87 series on scales measuring holistic qualities, content, language, and design. When kindergarten, first, and second graders ranked twenty of the basal stories, their rankings agreed with the researchers’ in seven of the ten pairings. Categories of students’ responses validated the researchers’ categories of content, language, and design and also extended into familiarity, personal experience, and realism. The findings identify some engaging qualities of text and extend previous research which was often limited to readability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-256
Number of pages24
JournalReading Research and Instruction
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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