Throughout the 20th century, both Synthetic and Analytic methods of teaching reading have been favored by different adult literacy educators. Among the adult literacy educators favoring the Synthetic or “code” methods are Harriet A. Jacobs (1987/1861), J. Duncan Spaeth (1919) and Frank Laubach (1947, 1960). Those favoring the Analytic or “meaning making ” methods include Cora Wilson Stewart (1922), Paul Witty (1947,1943), Francis P.Robinson (1946), and Septima Poinsette Clark (1962,1986)
In addition to illustrating one or the other of the two major sub-divisions of reading teaching methods, each of these seven educators have introduced innovations in teaching adult literacy beyond their emphasis upon either the code or the meaning methods. Jacobs has been discussed above, each of the others is discussed below in chronological order of their work.
Cora Wilson Stewart (1875-1958)
A leading pioneer of adult literacy education, Cora Wilson Stewart, Superintendent of Instruction in Rowan County, Kentucky, initiated the first campaign aimed specifically at eradicating adult illiteracy in the state. She noticed that many parents of the children in the public schools were illiterate. So she mobilized a group of teachers who volunteered to teach adults to read and write. The adults would be taught in the same schools as the children but at night, after the children went home. But because there were no street lights in the hills and hollows of the region, classes could only be held on moon lit nights, when adults could see their way to school. For this reason, the literacy program became known as the Moonlight Schools of Kentucky, and they operated from 1911 to the 1930s.
In 1913, building on a finding of the second session Moonlight Schools that one-on-one tutoring in homes could be successful the slogan "Each one teach one," was adopted (Stewart, 1922). This was a slogan that Frank Laubach would rediscover years later.
Stewart was devoted to the analytic method of teaching reading. This is clearly indicated in the Soldier’s First Book which she published in 1917 for teaching soldiers to read during World War I. In the Instructions to Teachers at the front of the book, she states, “The reading lessons in this book are to be taught by the word and sentence method combined. It is as easy to teach “I go” as it is to teach I “g” “o”---“go”. The first lesson should be learned at one recitation. After teaching the pupil the sentence, drill him on words by pointing out and having him point out each word as many times as it occurs in the lesson, and by other drills.”
A typical lesson would consist of reading a list of sight words at the top of the lesson page in a reader. Then sentences using the words would be read, and then practice in writing a sentence using the words would take place.
|PREVIOUS PAGE||COVER PAGE||NEXT PAGE|