In this paper, we present educators with the theoretical underpinnings of competing pedagogical approaches to literacy instruction. Given the recent push by many states to universally screen students in the early grades for dyslexia and institute phonics-only standards, we seek to reiterate the importance of a balanced approach. Our purpose is to explain how two contrasting orientations regarding the reading process can together form a framework for providing the best literacy education possible for all students, especially striving readers. We explore both the cognitive information-processing and constructivist perspectives and examine prominent models and theories that inform each approach. Recent research showcasing effective instructional strategies that have emerged from both perspectives is presented, and practical ways that both perspectives find expression in effective classroom practice, including meaningful use of technology, are also delineated. Last, we provide explicit case studies illustrating what literacy support looks like when competing information-processing and constructivist perspectives are blended and how teachers can practically utilize dual approaches to support their most vulnerable students. We join our voices with those of other scholars who call on educators to embrace a holistic, balanced approach to literacy instruction that is informed by various perspectives in their effort to reach striving readers.
Keywords: balanced literacy, effective literacy instruction, striving readers
McCullough, Melissa K. and Griffin, Robert A.
"Supporting the Literacy Development of Striving Readers through Competing Theoretical Perspectives,"
The Reading Professor: Vol. 43
, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholar.stjohns.edu/thereadingprofessor/vol43/iss1/7