NICHD Chief Names Closely Watched Panel On Reading Research

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The members of the National Reading Panel, which was requested by Congress last year to study the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching reading, have been announced by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The 15-member panel, chaired by Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg of the University System of Maryland, will evaluate research on successful methods of reading instruction and determine how it can be applied quickly and effectively in the classroom.

The formation of the panel is being closely scrutinized by experts in the subject, some of whom have voiced doubts that the group would represent a sufficient range of viewpoints. ("New National Reading Panel Faulted Before It's Formed," Feb. 18, 1998.)

"I am disappointed that the members selected for the committee represent a single point of view in terms of research methodology," said Richard L. Allington, who chairs the reading department at the State University of New York at Albany. The panel contains no ethnographers, qualitative researchers, historians, linguists, or a variety of other experts, he said. "It is a panel of distinguished scholars, but without some breadth of experience I don't know how the panel's judgment could find wide acceptance in the educational research community."

But Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the NICHD, defended the panel's membership. "I think we have excellent representation and diversity in terms of the kinds of backgrounds, areas of focus, and geographic makeup of the panel,"he said.

Members Listed

The members of the panel are:

Mr. Langenberg, a physicist and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Gloria Correro, a professor of curriculum and instruction at Mississippi State University; Linnea Ehri, a distinguished professor in the Ph.D. program in educational psychology at City University of New York; Gwenette Ferguson, a reading teacher in the North Fork Independent School District in Houston.

Norma Garza, an accountant from Brownsville, Texas, and a member of several state and national education panels and associations; Robert Glaser, a distinguished professor in the education and psychology departments at the University of Pittsburgh; Michael Kamil, a professor of language and literacy at Stanford University; Cora Bagley Marrett, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a former assistant director of the National Science Foundation.

S.J. Samuels, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota; and Timothy Shanahan, professor of urban education, director of the Center for Literacy, and coordinator of graduate programs in reading at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a professor of pediatrics and co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention at the Yale University School of Medicine; Thomas Trabasso, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago; Joanna Williams, a psychology and education professor at Columbia University; Dale Willows, a professor in the department of human development and applied psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto; and Joanne Yatvin, principal of the Cottrell and Bull Schools in Boring, Ore.

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