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Locating Basal Readers

Locating Basal Readers

Basal readers can be found in several locations in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library. The primary location for recent materials is the Curriculum Collection in the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL). Current basal readers for the most recent ten years are housed in this location. Readers from the 1800’s to the last ten years are maintained in the Oak Street Storage Facility. Additional readers are located in the Main Stacks (2nd floor, Main Library) and the Rare Book &  Manuscript Library (346 Library).

To locate basal readers, search the Library Catalog using the following subject headings:

  • Basal Reading Instruction
  • Hornbooks
  • Primers
  • Readers
  • Readers (Elementary)
  • Readers (Primary)
  • Readers (Secondary)
  • Reading
  • Textbooks
  • Textbooks–History

Items of Interest

The items listed below may be of interest to people researching or using basal readers. Locations of the items are indicated in parentheses.

X 808.88 W395A 1803 (RBML)
An American Selection of Lessons in Reading and Speaking. 4th ed. (Noah Webster). 1793.
Originally published in 1785, this was the first reader commonly used in primary schools to teach students reading, spelling, grammar, and composition. Sections focus on reading, speaking, dialogues, and poetry. For additional online editions of the book, see the list of An American Selection of Lessons in Reading and Speaking e-books.

372.41 B29 (Oak Street)
Basal Readers: A Second Look. 1994.
This sequel to the 1988 Report Card on Basal Readers contains essays written by classroom teachers and reading educators who advocate for the whole-language system of teaching.

010.6 BSP v. 43, no. 4 (Oak Street)
“Early primers for the use of children.” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. v. 43, no. 4. 1949.
This 1949 article found in the “Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America” discusses the inception of primers in the 16th century.

x428.6 B581h 1830 (RBML)
The Historical Reader. Stereotype edition. 1830.
First published in 1825, this reader covers the historical topics of the Creation, the Deluge, Tower of Babel, Trojan War, Fall of Rome, Gun-powder Treason (Guy Fawkes), Bunker Hill, Battle of Trafalgar, including a very graphic description of the death of Lord Nelson, and ends with a poetic address to The Deity.

372.41 IM7 (Oak Street)
Improving Basal Reading Instruction. 1989.
As stated in the preface, “this text is designed to apply current theory and research in reading and reading instruction …to provide teachers with usable, conceptually sound guidelines for improving basal reading instruction.”

428.407 L478 (Main Stacks)
Learning to Read in American Schools: Basal Readers and Content Texts. 1984.
Discusses the plentiful research done in regards to reading education in the 1970s. Sections focus on reading comprehension instruction, stories in basal readers and trade books, appraising text difficulty, content area textbooks, teachers’ guides, and workbooks.

428.6 M17m 1867a (RBML)
McGuffey’s Newly Revised Eclectic Primer. 1867.
One of the many books in McGuffey’s “Eclectic Educational Series”, this volume is geared towards young, new readers in their earliest exposure to reading. By using simple words, easy sentences and illustrations, this primer intends not only to teach children to read, but also to impart new and creative ideas.

372.414 W49m (Oak Street)
Moving Forward with Literature: Basals, Books, and Beyond. 1993.
The goal of this book is to aid teachers in formulating their own homemade reading-writing programs, rather than becoming dependent on prepackaged lesson plans. With chapters based on teachers’ personal experiences, this book shows the evolution of teaching with basal readers to teaching with trade books across the curriculum.

TEXT. 372.4 SCOTT 1962 (SSHEL Storage)
The New Basic Readers (Dick and Jane). Scott Foresman. 1962.
Also known and the “Dick and Jane” books, these books featured simple stories about life and home through the characters Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, and Puff. This series is best known for utilizing the “whole word” reading system.

372.41 T67r (Main Stacks)
Reading without Dick and Jane. 1965.
Takes a critical look at the problems of the “Dick and Jane” series. The author suggests that the series limited comprehension skills due to one-dimensionality and repetition of simple words while reinforcing gender inequalities and stereotypes.

372.41 R31 (Oak Street)
Report Card on Basal Readers. 1988.
“Critical analysis of the history and content of basal readers and how they hinder the teaching of reading. Includes discussion of tests included in basals and the relationship between basals and standardized tests.”

MFICHE 428.6  Am35 (HPNL)
American Primers.
This collection of primers, generally the first book used to teach reading, provides a microfiche copy of primers, spellers, and alphabet books published from the 1700s to the mid-1930s.