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fort over many decades. This report builds on earlier work, yet our scope limits us only to briefly summarizing earlier efforts. We acknowledge the degree to which our report benefits from this work and draw the reader's attention to the long history of thinking about these topics.
Between 1964 and 1967, the U.S. Office of Education conducted the Cooperative Research Program in First Grade Reading Instruction; this was an early and ambitious effort at large-scale evaluation of instructional approaches. The program, coordinated by Guy L. Bond and Robert Dykstra, included classroom approaches that emphasized systematic phonics instruction, meaningful connected reading, and writing; its results surpassed those of mainstream basal programs. Conceived and conducted prior to much of the psycholinguistic research on the subprocesses and factors involved in reading acquisition, these studies were not submitted to the levels of analysis characteristic of later efforts. Nonetheless, they pointed to a consistent advantage for code-emphasis approaches while indicating that one single simple method was not superior for all children and all teachers.
The Great Debate
Among efforts to identify factors associated with more and less effective beginning reading practices, Jeanne S. Chall's (1967) work, Learning to Read: The Great Debate, remains a classic. While producing this work, Chall visited classrooms, interviewed experts, and analyzed programs. Yet it was her review and analysis of the then-available research on instructional practices that yielded the most stunning conclusions. Chall found substantial and consistent advantages for programs that included systematic phonics, as measured by outcomes on word recognition, spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension at least through the third grade. Moreover, the advantage of systematic phonics was just as great and perhaps greater for children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or with