The purpose of this monograph is to examine the issues of reading in bilingual education. Our focus is primarily on the contemporary classroom in the United States. We examine the problems, issues, trends, and research. We suggest promising directions.
The past decade has been one of dynamic development, growth of interest, and controversy in both bilingual education and reading. In the United States, developments in school programs involving both have been entangled in legal and political issues. The result is lots of activity which doesn't always utilize the best knowledge. Within bilingual education concern for reading has seldom reflected current research and theory, and little research has focused on reading within bilingual programs.
We believe that we must begin this discussion by raising our eyes from focusing on the specifics of the classroom in the United States and see our issues and concerns in the context of human language and language use now and in the past; otherwise we run the risk of preoccupation with what is, rather than what is needed or what could be; otherwise we run the risk of losing the significant in a mass of trivia.
Note: We prefer to talk about literacy rather than reading because literacy includes both reading and writing. We use the term literacy in its full scope to include all the uses of written language, at all levels of proficiency.
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