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Vocabulary load of beginning readers authorized for British Columbia schools, 1872 to 1977 Patterson, Joyce Isobel 1977

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VOCABULARY LOAD OF BEGINNING READERS AUTHORIZED FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA SCHOOLS, 1872 TO 1977 by Joyce Isobel Patterson A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Faculty of GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Reading Education We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard (5) JOYCE ISOBEL-PATTERSON, 1977 UNr/ERSITY OF.BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1977 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I ag ree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a nd s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f ^e^di^cf £aJU^*uh»-n The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1WS Date 27 AUGUST 1977 Supervisor: Dr. H. M. Covell ABSTRACT Identifies and compares three dimensions of the vocabulary load of the nine readers and reader series prescribed for beginning reading i n the Province of British Columbia since 1872. The dimensions explored were: number of running words; number of new words introduced; and average number and range of repetitions. Periods of prescription were designated by the f i r s t year of prescription, namely: 1872, 1884, 1901, 1915, 1923, 1935, 1948, 1964, and 1968. (The 1964 and 1968 materials are currently both authorized by the Mnistry of Education.) Tabulations were made for each dimension i n each time period. The number of running words i n each time period was 3,495, 1,468, 2,540, 2,021, 7,252, 12,766, 20,577, 23,177, and 7,531 respectively. The number of new words introduced i n each time period was 392, 367, 405, 447, 633, 601, 341, 500, and 860 in each case. The average number of repetitions found i n a sample of the f i r s t 500 words i n each time period was, respectively: 6.1, 5.3, 3*3, 3.0, 5.8, 6.3, 22.7, 14.2, and 4.6. The range of repetitions i n the same 500-word sample was as follows i n each case: 1-43, 1-75, 1-34, 1-31, 1-55, 1*38, 5-60, 1-54, and 1-38. The method did not account for repetitions of words having similar patterns, an aspect of the vocabulary system observed i n the 1872, 1923, and 1968 materials. Concludes that the differences between the early time periods and the recent time periods of 1935, 1948, and 1964 are related to the use of vocabulary control which provides for the introduction of a limited number of new words and their systematic repetition. Recommends (l) investigation of methods of determining vocabulary load of beginning readers that gives weight to word patterns; (2) content analysis of related teachers manuals and other documents to ascertain teaching methods; and (3) content analysis of the readers i i i to determine attitudes expressed. Appendix describes procedures in identifying and verifying the periods of prescription and the prescribed readers. ACKNO¥I£DGrEMENTS The writer wishes to acknowledge the very generous assistance given by Dr. H. M. Covell, chairman of the supervisory committee, whose guidance was most helpful at a l l stages in the development of this thesis. Appreciation i s also expressed to Dr. Jane Catterson for her constructive criticism at various times during the preparation of the text. Also, the writer i s indebted to Dr. E. Summers, whose interest and help were a significant contribution to this study. Grateful acknowledgement i s made to those who made the readers available: to the Special Collections Division, University of British Columbia, for the texts on the authorized l i s t s of 1872, 1884, 1901, 1915, and 1935; to Dr. H. M. Covell for the text of 1923 (now in the Reading ResourcesCentre, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia); and to Miss Dorothy Sharrock of the Reading Resources Centre for the materials prescribed in 1948, 1964, and 1968. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I. THE PROBLEM 1 Introduction 1 Purpose of the Study 2 Source Material 2 Definition of Terms 2 The Prescribed Beginning Readers and Reader Series . . 3 Limitations of the Study 4 SUMMARY OP CHAPTER 4 II. REVIEW OP RELATED LITERATURE 6 CONTENT ANALYSIS AS A RESEARCH TECHNIQUE 6 VOCABULARY STUDIES OF BEGINNING READERS 7 Word Lists 7 Vocabulary Control . . . . . • 7 Definition 7 Reasons for vocabulary control 8 Historical survey of vocabulary control 9 Pros and cons of vocabulary control 14 SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 15 III. METHODOLOGY 16 IV. RESULTS - 18 THE TOTAL SAMPLES 18 Number of Running Words 18 Number of New Words 18 Comparison of Running Words and New Words . . . . . . . 21 iv THE 500-WORD SAMPLES 21 Average Number and Range of Repetitions 21 Distribution of Word Repetitions 26 DISCUSSION 26 Number of Running Words 26 Number of New Words 27 Repetitions 29 SUMMARY OP CHAPTER 50 V. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS 52 SUMMARY 52 Related Literature 52 Methodology 54 Findings • • 55 CONCLUSIONS 56 FUTURE RESEARCH 57 BIBLIOGRAPHY 59 APPENDIX; A.. 45 I. THE PROBLEM Introduction Nine different readers and reader series have been prescribed for beginning reading in British Columbia since the inception of public schooling i n the Pro-vince in 1872. Since new texts have replaced the old at regular intervals, this body of material lends i t s e l f to a study of changes in beginning readers over the past one hundred years. For this reason, and because the texts had not previously been brought together and described, a search was made for a technique which would serve both to describe the readers and to identify changes in the materials over time* The search revealed many applications of systematic content analysis proce-dures i n textbook analysis, readability studies, and historical descriptions of readers. This process, which usually results in quantitative information, permits valid inferences about relationships between the data. It was also found that there has been a marked.interest in this century i n the vocabulary load of children's readers, specifically, i n the number of new words introduced and the number of repetitions of words. This has led to many vocabulary studies of beginning reading texts for evaluative purposes. Moreover, because words are a constant factor across texts of different formats, they have also provided a useful unit for the description and comparative analysis of readers i n different time periods. Since content analysis of a l l possible components of the prescribed beginning reading materials was too broad a task for an exploratory study, i t was decided to limit the preliminary description to an analysis of the vocabulary load of the readers i n each period of prescription, and to identify changes i n the readers by comparing the findings for the different time periods. 1 2 Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the vocabulary load of the nine beginning readers and reader series prescribed by the Province of British Columbia from 1872 to the present. Three dimensions of vocabulary load were explored: (1) Number of running words. (2) Number of new words introduced. (3) Average number and range of word repetitions among the f i r s t 500 running words. Source Material Primary sources for the study consisted of: the reading materials prescribed for Grade I (or equivalent prior to 1923) i n the Province of British Columbia; and publications of the Province of British Columbia which were used to verify dates of prescription and ascertain t i t l e s of the reading materials, i.e., Annual Reports of the Public Schools, Programmes of Studies for the Elementary Schools, and Division of Curriculum materials. Reference was also made to the teacher's manuals which accompanied the prescribed readers in recent periods of prescription. Secondary materials comprised books, articles, and unpublished papers related to: the history of school readers and reading instruction; vocabulary studies of readers; and content analysis theory, procedures, and studies of children's reading materials. Definition of Terms Reader - A book for learning and practising reading. Reader series - In this study, a collective term to describe beginning reading materials i n periods of prescription which included more than one beginning reader: for example, the Primer and First Reader authorized in 1935. Beginning reader - In this study, a general term for any reader intended for 3 use during the f i r s t year of schooling. Prescribed or authorized texts - Textbooks stipulated for use i n the public schools of the Province and provided to students under various giving and lending systems over the years. As i s the case of the readers of this study, the texts are not generally produced by the Department (now Ministry) of Education, but are chosen from materials written by authorities i n the f i e l d and available from textbook publishing firms. Time period - In this study, a term referring^he period of time a reader or reader series i s prescribed; for convenience, this period i s identified by the f i r s t year of prescription. Vocabulary, controlled - A system of introducing and repeating a restricted number of words i n a reader series, and providing for the gradual increase i n the number and difficulty of words. New word - A word not previously introduced i n a given reader or reader series. In this study, and following the usual practice, variant forms are not new words when s or 's i s added to or dropped from known nouns and when s, ed, d and ing are added to known verbs; nor i s a compound a new word when formed from two known words. Repetitions - In this study, the number of times a word i s repeated i n the f i r s t 500 running words of a reader, or reader series where these occur. More generally, this term refers to the number of times a given word i s repeated i n a reader. The Prescribed Beginning Readers and Reader Series The f i r s t reader on the 1872 l i s t of authorized texts for British Columbia schools and the f i r s t reader on the new l i s t of 1884 were considered to be the beginning readers prior to 1901. Prom 1901 to 1923 the organization of the elementary schools consisted of three grades, Junior, Intermediate, and Senior. The Junior grade represented the f i r s t three years of school. Therefore the First Primer in the three readers prescribed for the Junior grade i n 1901, and the Beginner's Reader in the new series prescribed i n 1915 were considered to be the beginning or first-year readers for this study. The present elementary school grading system began in 1923 with a division into Grades I to VIII. Beginning i n 1923, therefore, the readers prescribed for Grade I were the materials of study. Procedures and sources used to identify and verify the periods of prescrip-tion and the prescribed readers are described i n Appendix A. The nine readers and reader series of the study are listed chronologically by f i r s t year of prescription in the Bibliography. Limitations of the Study The study w i l l provide a numerical description of the vocabulary load of the beginning reading texts i n each period of prescription. The analysis w i l l not take into account factors such as size of type, sentence length, illustrations, word difficulty, or subject matter of the materials. Nor will the study attempt to ana-lyze the larger social, economic, and technological changes which have affected education, and therefore children's readers, i n British Columbia during the period of study. SUMMARY OF CHAPTER The texts authorized for beginning reading i n British Columbia schools since 1872 provide a body of material suited to an examination of changes which have occurred i n first-year readers over the past one hundred years. As these materials have not hitherto been described, a search was made for a research technique which would provide basic descriptive data and probe aspects of change in the readers. 5 This investigation revealed that concern for the vocabulary load of children's readers i n the present century has produced many word counts of beginning reading materials. It was also observed that this form of analysis provides numerical data that can be used to describe and compare readers of different historical periods. Consequently, i t was decided to tabulate the vocabulary load of the readers in each period of prescription and compare the resulting data in order to identify changes which may have taken place in this area of the texts over the years. H. REVIEW OP RELATED LITERATURE Two areas of the literature related to the present study are: content analysis as a research technique; and vocabulary studies of beginning readers. CONTENT ANALYSIS AS A RESEARCH TECHNIQUE Content analysis i s a research technique for the objective, systematic, numerical description of printed or other human communication. The method i s based on the premise that what i s said, written, pictured, or otherwise communi-cated can be analyzed into units that can be quantified or counted. Thus, within a sample of material, when a l l the occurrences of a unit of one kind have been recorded and counted, i t i s possible to make a numerical comparison with another unit of a different kind which has been similarly tabulated i n the material. Comparisons can also be made with other material that has been analyzed i n the same way, or with other data expressed i n numerical terms. A standard reference on the theory and use of content analysis i s by Berelson (1952). Holsti (1969) describes more recent theoretical concepts and applications i n the f i e l d . Requirements of the procedure are: precise specifi-cation of the content universe or sample of material to be analyzed; explanation of the unit of analysis (e.g., word, t i t l e , page, story); operational definition of the categories for analysis; and systematic coding of a l l the relevant occur-rences of the categories i n the sample. Validity i s dependent upon the relevance of the categories to the intent of the analysis; i n modern content analysis, when inferences are made about the sources or receivers of the communication i t i s usually assumed that the content analysis data w i l l be compared with an independent or noncontent index of the attributes inferred. Reliability requires consistency in coding occurrences of the categories; when judgements are involved, inter-coder re l i a b i l i t y should be measured and reported. 6 7 VOCABULARY STUDIES OP BEGINNING READERS Word Lists In preparing basal readers, authors have attempted to make use of words of high functional value, as revealed by word counts of reading content and children's language. To establish graded l i s t s of the most frequently used words in reading vocabularies, word counts were made by Thorndike and many others. Thorndike (l92l) identified the 20,000 words occurring most frequently i n the reading vocabularies of children's literature, the Bible and English classics, elementary-school text-books, tradebooks, daily newspapers, and correspondence. Forty-one different sources were used and the sample comprised 4,565,000 words, of which 3,000,000 were from the Bible and English classics. A Reading Vocabulary for the Primary Grades was constructed by Gates (1926) according to standards of " u t i l i t y for childhood H, interest, and difficulty. The selection criteria was applied to the 2500 words of highest frequency i n the Thorndike l i s t and to an additional 281 words from a selection of literature for young children, a series of readers for the primary grades, and the Horn l i s t of 1,003 words used most frequently by kindergarten children. In 1936 Dolch prepared a basic sight vocabulary consisting of 220 words, excepting nouns, common to three word l i s t s (Dolch, 1936). Vocabulary Control Definition. As defined by Gray (1960a), vocabulary control in basic reading programmes i s "a planned, sequential pattern of introducing and maintaining vocabu-lary" which helps to ensure mastery of a stock of sight words (words instantane-ously recognized) and, later, of new words that pupils analyze independently or look up i n the dictionary (p. 18). The procedure i s to introduce one or a very small number of new words on a page; once a word has been introduced i t i s repeated 8 at spaced intervals throughout the hook and the word i s also repeated and maintained i n succeeding books in the series. Schonell (1959) discusses the vocabulary of the Happy Venture Reading Scheme under the following headings; everyday words used; meaningful words of different visual patterns; controlled vocabulary; confusable words kept apart; adequate repetition of new xrords; and sentence form helps word recognition. In the section headed "Controlled Vocabulary", the following explanation i s given: In order to provide success and so sustain interest, the grading of words used in each book of the series i s controlled. It i s now a well-established teaching principle that the amount and the difficulty of material i n any school subject should be so graded as to suit the child's age and learning capacity. Now this i s just what the Happy Venture Readers do by controlling  the vocabulary, that i s , by restricting the number of words used i n each book. (pp. 16-17) Under "Adequate Repetition of New Words", Schonell again refers to controlled vocabulary: Now, intimately related to grading of words i s their adequate repetition. It i s not sufficient merely to control the number of words per page, they must also be repeated on many pages, embodied in familiar phrases, and i n a variety of contexts. It i s word control plus repetition that makes for  effective word recognition. Thus in Introductory Book there are only 44 new words and these are used i n a total of 553 running words covering 27 pages, so that on an average a word i s repeated about 12 times throughout the book. (p. 2l) Reasons for vocabulary control. Controlling the vocabulary burden of early reading texts was a response to the "heavy" and unregulated word loads occurring in readers, and avoids the disabling effects of discouragement and word-by-word reading (Schonell, 1951; Spache and Spache, 1977). As pointed out below, i t s development i s related to vocabulary studies of reading materials i n the 1920s (Gray, 1925); this was also a time when seriously high failure rates in the primary grades were reported (Mcintosh and others, I960). The advantages of the principle of vocabulary control according to Schonell (1951) are: gradation ensures a good i n i t i a l attitude to reading by giving every child a chance to make progress, and allows brighter children to get on more 9 quickly with new books; repetition permits maximum use of learning through discrimination of visual patterns of words; l i s t s of the new words that appear on each page permit teachers to make preparatory and revision-work, while the gradation of vocabulary in a series allows the use of books which suit particular groups; carrying on the vocabulary from book to book maintains the child's acquaintance with the early reading material. Historical survey of vocabulary control. The vocabulary of American school readers from colonial times was surveyed by Smith (1965). Before 1776 the rate of introduction of new words in the f i r s t five pages of primers ranged from 20 to 100 new words per page, proceeding from one-syllable words to two- and so on up to words of five and six syllables. In the succeeding period, 1776-1840, spelling books as well as readers were used for reading instruction,and Noah Webster's Blue-back Speller, f i r s t published i n 1790, had a range of 86 to 197 new words and syllables per page on the f i r s t ten pages. Smith describes the organization of the reader as follows: The f i r s t twenty-five pages of the book were given over to rules and instructions. Page 26, the f i r s t which the child was supposed to read, contained the alphabet, syllables, and consonant combinations. The second page for the child to read contained 197 syllables. The succeeding several pages were devoted to l i s t s of words arranged i n order by their number of syllables, and further organized into l i s t s according to the similarity of phonetic elements, (p. 46) Provision for repetition and a striking decrease i n the number of new words per page occurred i n primers of 1840-1890, McGuffey's First Reader being notable for introducing only 10 to 12 new words per page with no new words i n review lessons. The f i r s t page of this reader was given over to the alphabet i n large and small letters; then came the picture alphabet, which occupied three pages; and then Lesson I based on two-letter words which were presented i n isolation for spelling and i n sentences for reading. By Lesson LXV, words of three and four letters were being used. Referring to the vocabulary of the stories, Smith found 10 that the sentences were usually subservient to the phonetic elements which McGuffey selected for d r i l l purposes. A reader published at the end of the period 1890-1910, which, according to Smith, was a time of emphasis on reading as a cultural asset, was found to have a range of 4 to 6 new words per page in the f i r s t 10 pages, with abundant repetition provided i n the cumulative features of the folktale content. However, the i n i t i a l ten pages i n the f i r s t book of a silent reader series published at the end of the period 1910-1925 contained a range of 2 to 30 new words per page. Smith reported that during the period 1925-1935 vocabulary load in reading materials was a topic of interest i n research, standard word l i s t s were used as a basis for selecting vocabulary, and the total vocabulary of primers averaged 289 new words, with a trend toward higher repetitions of words. Beginning readers continued to show vocabulary reduction i n the years 1935-1950: i n six basal series published between 1940 and 1950 examined by Smith, the average combined vocabulary of primers and pre-primers was 174 words. Authors continued to check word selection for early readers against "scientifically deter-mined vocabulary l i s t s " , a l l the words i n the pre-primers and primers were repeated in the f i r s t reader, and there was a higher number and careful account of repetitions. In the last period examined by Smith, 1950-1965, there was evidence of a further decrease i n vocabulary: the pre-primer programme had an average of 59 new words and the primer 89, or a total of 148. Smith reported that authors continued to check vocabulary against word l i s t s i n these years, except for one group who said such a practice has many fallacies (Smith, 1965, p. 328). Smith reviewed the sequential development of applying linguistic theory to the teaching of reading which occurred during the last period of her study, and presented the content from pages of two sets of reading materials for children based on linguistic principles. The f i r s t publication for children's use 11 appeared i n 1961 and was ti t l e d Let's Read. Approximately 5000 words were introduced in the book as a whole. The learning sequence proceeded from the alphabet to words having similar patterns, followed in each case with sentences contining these words. The emphasis was on symbol-sound correspondences, as i n a bag, a rag, a rag bag. The concern of these authors, said Smith, "is not phonics, but rather word patterns" (p. 388). A Basic Reading Series Developed  Upon Linguistic Principles published i n 1965 was "the f i r s t graded series of basal readers prepared for the express purpose of applying linguistic theory" (p. 389); a beginning reading programme similar to the earlier Let's Read was followed. Edmund B. Huey's study of reading, The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading (Huey, 1908), gives an indication of approaches to the vocabulary of children's readers early i n the present century. Huey quoted a Professor Burke's preface to a reader written by children i n California. This preface makes reference to vocabulary load i n the concluding sentences: ". . . . Much care has been used to keep the stories within a limited vocabulary. Less than 750 different words are used i n the entire series (two volumes), and these, excepting the necessary geographical names are a l l of the commonest use among children." (Burke quoted by Huey, 1908, pi 340) Otherwise, Huey's references to vocabulary were concerned with the use that should be made of context i n recognizing unknown words. For example, he quoted from a description of beginning reading lessons at the Horace Mann School, Teachers College, Columbia University, where "the vocabulary i s 'not limited to a very few words,' the pupil gaining many words from the context" (p. 291)• Describing his own method, Huey said that the child "enlarges his vocabulary for himself by the use of the context" (p. 333). and that the "most natural and real meanings (of words) dawn upon the reader as he feels the part that i s lef t for them to take in the various contexts i n which they occur" (p. 348). .12 Studies made in the early 1920s by United States investigators of the extent of the vocabulary i n different sets of readers revealed such a surprisingly large vocabulary i n the readers for each grade that a demand developed for a so-called "basic" vocabulary for mastery at each level (Gray, 1925). In 1922 Selke and Selke tabulated the frequencies of the words used i n 12 beginning readers and found a total of 1,636 different words, with a range of from 157 to 630 words i n individual books; they also found a very limited frequency of a large number of words within books and between books (Gray, 1925). A 680-word mastery vocabulary vrhich had been developed for the three primary grades was criticized as being too small, a point justified by a study of textbooks for the f i r s t three grades prescribed by Oregon State where a total of 5,190 different words was found to occur i n the primers, readers, spellers, and arithmetic, with 30 per cent of the words appearing only once (Gray, 1925)* Commenting on these and similar findings, Gray said that problems related to "the control of vocabulary difficulties in the organization of reading material" and the development of "methods of vocabulary mastery" were i n urgent need of careful study (p. 190). In 1925 Gates and others counted the number of different words i n pre-primer, primer, and other first-grade materials of 21 systems of beginning reading and found a range of from 90 or less to 900 words i n the various systems; for these investigators, the findings indicated a need for standards of selection i n begin-ning reading vocabularies (Gray, 1926). E. ¥. Dolch compared modern readers with the historical McGuffey Readers of the same grade level (Dolch, 1945). He found that the modern primers and f i r s t readers had about 2750 more running words than the McGuffey materials and that modern second and thirdreaders contained about 10,500 and 13,000 more i n each case. Both had the same percentage of di f f i c u l t words, but the McGuffey Readers introduced them a year earlier. The principles underlying the contemporary organi-zation of vocabulary i n readers were expressed by Gray in a comment on Dolch*s 13 study: "Obviously modern readers provide an easier introduction to reading, much more reading material, and more frequent contact with specific words" (Gray, 1960b, p. 1120). The Happy Venture Readers were described by their author, Fred J. Schonell, as the " f i r s t vocabulary-controlled reading books specifically prepared for English-speaking children and made available i n British Commonwealth countries" (Schonell, 1959, p. v). An account of the theoretical and research background of the scheme i s to be found i n The Psychology and Teaching of Reading (Schonell, 195l)• The first-year vocabulary of the series was 209 words, but the author stated that the reading vocabulary of "the majority of pupils at the end of f i r s t year will vary from 200 words up to 380 or even 500 or more words, according to the amount of phonic family work and supplementary reading they have done" (Schonell, 1959» p. 66). As evidence of other current vocabulary content, Schonell reported word counts made by the Scottish Council for Research i n Education of four different Infant Series: these showed a range of 466 to 1022 words in the f i r s t two (or three)books (Schonell, 195l)» In 1962 the authors of a Canadian primary reading programme (Mcintosh (Ed.) and others, 196(3) compared the conservatism of the 250-vocabulary of the most widely usedliUnited States (and Canadian) first-grade readers with findings of a 1950 study of seven series commonly used i n Scotland. The average vocabulary of the Scottish readers was 520, the easiest series introducing 370 new words, the most dif f i c u l t 728. These authors also referred to a second 1950 study which showed that the average Scottish child, who begins school at age five, one year earlier than North American children, made more than a year's progress i n the f i r s t grade in terms of the Metropolitan Reading Test. The evidence of these Scottish studies was a factor i n the rationale for the "more demanding programme" based upon 503 words provided by Mcintosh and his associates. (This series i s ona of the prescribed reader series i n the present study, i.e., the 1964 series.) 14 A survey of vocabulary i n American basal readers by Spache and Spache (1977) showed a trend toward greater repetition and smaller vocabularies at every level from 1930 to 1965. In findings similar to those reported by Smith (1965), they found that the average vocabulary i n primers i n 1930-1931 was 304, but by 1965 i t was an estimated 113 to 173 words. These authors point out that a reversal in the trend toward smaller vocabularies i n American first-grade readers i s suggested by a 1974 study by Leo V. Rodenborn and Earlene Washburn: based on four leading American series published between I960 and 1970, f i r s t - . grade vocabulary was found to range from 305 to 675 words. Pros and cons of vocabulary control. In a recent discussion of arguments both for and against vocabulary control, Spache and Spache (1977) gave the following reasons why basal vocabulary control i s not justified: standards for number of repetitions and rate of introducing new words are not precisely known; children spontaneously learn many words other than the basal vocabulary; except for a few hundred service words which occur frequently i n practically a l l reading materials, there i s hardly any such entity as a core vocabulary which overlaps various basal series; studies by Gates in 1961 and 1962 showed that even the poorest readers i n Grades two and three recognize a large proportion of the words in the next grade-level of their basal series; the need for repetition varies from child to child; repetition does not ensure learning, for errors i n words introduced in primary grades persist into college level. In support of less rigorous vocabulary control these authors also point out that today's children are more verbal, more widely travelled, and have larger vocabularies as a result of televiewing experiences (Spache and Spache, 1977). Similar factors resulting from changes in children's environment were cited by Mcintosh and associates (1962) to justify a reduced readiness or pre-reading period i n their first-year programme; however, an additional influence i n children's lives 15 mentioned by these authorities was the "smooth upward gradient" provided by beginning reading programmes. SUMMARY OP CHAPTER The procedure used in vocabulary studies i s content analysis, a research technique for quantifying and comparing the material of human communication. Analysis of reading vocabularies in the form of word counts began i n the United States in the 1920s for the purpose of creating functional word l i s t s and evaluating the difficulty of reading materials. Word counts were also made of children's speaking vocabularies. Findings from these and similar studies underlie the method of controlled vocabulary that has been generally used in North American basal readers since that time. A similar system of controlling the vocabulary burden of early readers was developed in the United Kingdom. Vocabulary studies of beginning readers indicate that different systems of presenting words have existed i n different historical periods. For many years word introduction was related to the graded presentation of words according to number of syllables; then this method was combined with attention to phonic similarities. A prototype of modern vocabulary control may be seen i n the McGuffev Reader of the mid-nineteenth century where a limited number of new words graded i n difficulty was introduced and provision was made for the repetition of words. There i s evidence that early i n the present century consideration was given to the use of context i n deciding on the meaning of words and to the repeti-tive nature of folktales i n the organization of beginning reading vocabularies. In recent years, the linguistic method of introducing words based on word patterns has been used in some basal series. A principle common to a l l these systems i s the graded presentation of words or word parts, proceeding from some standard of least to more d i f f i c u l t . III. METHODOLOGY The primary sources for analysis were the nine readers and reader series prescribed for Grade I (or equivalent prior to 1923) i n British Columbia schools since 1872. The time periods of prescription or authorization were identified by the f i r s t year of authorization by the British Columbia Department of Education, viz.. 1872, 1884, 1901, 1915, 1923, 1935, 1948, 1964, and 1968. The 1964 and 1968 series are currently both authorized by what i s now called the Ministry of Education. Tabulations were made to determine: (1) Number of running words i n the reader(s) i n each time period. (2) Number of new words introduced i n the reader(s) i n each time period. (3) Average number and range of word repetitions among the f i r s t 500 words of the reader or reader series in each time period. The sample for the f i r s t and second tabulations comprised a l l the material in the texts with the exception of: words presented i n isolation; exercises, e.g., f i l l i n the blanks; and poems provided for enrichment. This sample was called the Total Sample i n each case; thus there were nine Total Samples, one for each time period. The sample for the third tabulation was limited to the f i r s t 500 words of each Total Sample. This sample was called the 500-Word Sample i n each case; thus there were nine 500-Word Samples, one for each time period. The texts were analyzed three times; i n cases of series i n the Total Sample, separate tabulations were made for each text i n the series. In the f i r s t analysis, the running words i n each Total Sample were counted and totalled. In the second analysis, the new words introduced i n each Total Sample were listed and their numbers totalled; i n cases of series, the count for each book excluded words 16 previously used i n the same series. Finally, for each 500-Word Sample, the frequency of occurrence of each word introduced was recorded; using these data, the average number and range of word repetitions were computed. IV. RESULTS THE TOTAL SAMPLES Number of Running Words The number of running words i n each reader and the total for each time period are shown i n Table 1. The beginning readers for 1872, 1884, 1901, and 1915, which have 3,495, 1,468, 2,540, and 2,021 running word respectively, provide relatively small amounts of reading material i n comparison with totals for subsequent time periods. Moreover, among these early texts, that for 1872 has more than twice as many words as the 1884 reader and approximately one-third as many as the 1901 and 1915 readers. With 7,252 running words, the 1923 period shows a marked increase i n amount of reading material over the early time periods. A further increase to a total of 12,766 running words occurs i n the 1935 material, and the trend towards larger amounts continues i n the 1948 and 1964 series, which have totals of 20,577 and 23,177 running words respectively. However, the total running words i n the 1968 series i s 7,531, a figure comparable to the total for 1923. Number of New Words Table 2 shows the number of new words introduced in each reader and the total number of new words introduced i n each time period. The 1872, 1884, 1901, and 1915 materials have similar word burdens, with totals of 392, 367, 405, and 447 new words respectively. Increased vocabularies of 633 and 601 words occur in the 1923 and 1935 materials. After a sharp drop to 341 new words i n the 1948 series, the word burden rises to 500 i n 1964. The heaviest word load occurs i n the 1968 series, which introduces 860 new words. 18 19 fable 1 Number of Running Words i n Each Total Sample Time Period Pre- , Pre- Pre- Primer Primer Primer Primer First Reader Totals 1872 3,495 3,495a 1884 1,468 l,468 a 1901 2,540 2,540a 1915 2,021 2,021a 1923 2,327 4,925 7,252 1935 4,461 8,305 12,766 1948 401 975 1,591 6,061 11,549 20,577 1964 2,169 7,385 13,623 23,177 1968b 537° 2,644 4,350 7,531 aThis figure represents the word count for the f i r s t reading text on the authorized l i s t for this time period; the total first-year programme i s not precisely known. Results are shown for three readers i n a series of three readers and one novelette. °First reader. 20 Table 2 Number of New Words in Each Total Sample Time Period Pre- Pre- Pre-Primer Primer Primer First Reader Totals 1872 392 392a 1884 367 367a 1901 405 405a 1915 447 1923 273 360 633 1935 284 317 601 1948 17 22 21 99 182 341 1964 83 183 234 500 1968* 111° 312 437 860 ^ h i s figure represents the word count for the f i r s t reading text on the authorized l i s t for this time period; the total first-year programme i s not precisely known. ^Results are shown for three readers i n a series of three readers and one novelette. c F i r s t reader. 21 Comparison of Running Words and New Words One way of comparing the number of running words and number of new words i n the periods of study i s to delineate graphically the two sets of data over the nine time periods (Figure l ) . Except for 1968, this shows the general trend toward greater amounts of reading material since 1923 and the dramatic increases over the periods 1935 to 1964. At the same time, and again with the exception of 1968, the number of new words or word burden i n the materials i s smallest i n the 1948 period and highest i n the periods 1923 and 1935. Another way of comparing running words and new words i n the different time periods i s to compare the ratio of new words to 100 running words i n each time period (Figure 2). For 1872 the ratio i s 11.2:100 or 11.2 new words for every 100 running words. The results for the remaining time periods similarly are (1884) 25.0:100, (l90l) 15.9:100, (1915) 22.1:100, (1923) 8.7:100, (1935) 4.7:100, (1948) 1.7:100, (1964) 2.2:100, (l9&s) 11.4:100. These data show that among the early texts the ratios of new words to running words i n the 1884 and 1915 materials were notably high. A general trend towards increasingly smaller ratios of new words to 100 running words occurs beginning in 1923 with the 1948 series having the smallest ratio. Again an exception exists i n the 1968 data. THE 500-WORD SAMPLES Average Number and Range of Repetitions The average number and range of repetitions i n the f i r s t 500 running words in each time period are shown i n Table 3. These data show that the average number of repetitions i n the samples ranges from 3.0 to 6.3 i n the f i r s t six time periods, then rises sharply i n 1948 to 22.7. The subsequent time period, 1964, has an average of 14.2 repetitions i n the sample, while the 1968 material has an average of 4.6, a number similar to the earlier periods. On the other hand, the range of 22 25000 20000i-15000 10000 5000 JL - Running Words • • New Words _L X 2500 2000 I o J1500 | u <D 1000 500 1872 1884 1901 1915 1923 1935 Time Period 1948 1964 1968 Figure 1* Number of running words and number of new words i n each Total Sample. 23 01 I I I I I I i 1 1 1872 1884 1901 1915 1923 1935 1948 1964 1968 Time Period Figure 2» Ratio of new words to 100 running words in each Total Sample. Table 3 Average Number and Range of Repetitions i n each 500-Word Sample Time R e p e t i t i o n s *^3X*jL0CL — — — — M l i m i I — • . 1 1 . • III • IIH.MIII..I.II.IIH • • ! • I II !•• • IIHI — — Average Number Range 1872 6.1 1-43 1884 5.3 1-75 1901 3.3 1-34 1915 3.0 1-31 1923 5.8 1-55 1935 6.3 1-38 1948 22.7 5-60 1964 14.2 1-54 1968 4.6 1-38 25 Table 4 Distribution of Repetitions i n Each 500-Word Sample Number Number of New Words of Occurrences 1872 1884 1901 1915 1923 1935 1948 1964 1968 71-80 1 61 - 70 . - 60 1 1 2 1 . - 50 1 2 1 . - 40 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 . - 30 2 1 1 2 1 6 5 2 20 1 1 19 2 1 1 1 1 18 2 1 1 17 1 1 1 1 1 1 16 1 3 1 1 1 15 2 2 1 14 1 1 1 4 1 2 13 1 2 2 1 1 1 12 2 3 2 1 11 2 3 3 3 3 10 5 2 3 1 3 4 4 1 9 3 2 1 1 3 8 4 2 4 1 4 2 1 1 4 7 2 3 5 4 1 6 1 2 3 6 2 8 5 3 4 4 1 2 6 5 4 4 2 9 4 6 2 1 3 4 2 4 9 7 9 10 13 3 19 16 9 16 9 6 3 10 2 7 13 21 30 7 10 2 16 1 21 33 85 86 32 15 3 38 Totals 81 95 152 167 86 79 22 35 108 26 repetitions i s greatest i n the 1884 time period, which had a range of 1-75, and least i n 1915 and 1901, where the range of repetitions was 1-31 and 1-34 respect-ively. Distribution of Word Repetitions The distribution of word repetitions i n each 500-Word Sample i s shown i n Table 4. The mode or most typical number of occurrences of words i s 1 i n a l l time periods except 1948 and 1964, where the modes f a l l i n the interval 21 to 30. DISCUSSION Number of Running Words The increasing amounts of actual reading material found i n the readers of recent periods compared with those of earlier periods generally conforms with the results of Dolch's comparison of McGuffey Readers and modern readers (Dolch, 1945). Two reasons suggested by Dolch for the quantitative differences between the late nineteenth-century readers of his study and those of more recent times may be equally applicable to the materials of the present study: First, books were more expensive i n previous years than they are now i n proportion to other necessities of l i f e . There was also a conviction that "thorough reading" practically meant memorizing. A child read and re-read a story until he could repeat i t almost verbatim, and he might even read the whole book again and again until he knew i t by heart. Nowadays we believe i n repetition i n different contexts, and the words are repeated over and over i n different ways i n the book. Thus we hope to get word recognition without memorization of stories, (p. 98) The earlier approach to repetition i s illustrated by a note i n the 1872 reader of the present study recommending that the "back lessons may with profit be frequently reviewed". The subsequent provision for word repetition i n the texts themselves i s shown by the increasingly smaller proportions of new words to running words i n the readers from 1935 to 1964. The 1948 material appears to be directly related to the concern for vocabulary 27 control which "began i n the late 1920s in the United States. The 1948 texts of this study are the readers of the First-Grade Program of the Curriculum Foundation  Series. The major author of this series was William S. Gray, who for many years was editor of the annual Summaries of Reading Investigations, and was author of many reading studies, including the methods text On Their Own i n Reading. What i s evidently the f i r s t edition of the Curriculum Foundation Series i s cited i n Nila Banton Smith's history of American reading instruction under the year 1927 (Smith, 1965). Many revisions followed over the years, and the popular use of the series i s attested to by the fact that the names of the two main child characters, Dick and Jane, have virtually entered the language. As pointed out by Topping (1968), this material became the f i r s t American-authored reading series prescribed for use in British Columbia schools. The relatively small number of running words in the 1968 series represents a break in the trend towards larger amounts of reading material. One explanation for this change may be the distinctive nature of the programme (linguistic method). It w i l l be recalled that the f i r s t children's reader based on linguistic principles appeared in the United States as recently as 1961 (Smith, 1965). Number of New Words The 1884 First Primer, which i s assumed to represent the first-year text i n that period, has a high proportion of new words to running words (as well as a small amount of total reading material) when compared with the 1872 reader. The 1884 text i s composed of numbered sentences, many of which are not sequential, rhymes, and a small amount of narrative material. The lessons were designed to teach the single letters "in one and only one of their powers. . . then the double letters - double vowels and double consonants, i n i t i a l and f i n a l " (Preface to the 1884 First Primer). The 1872 text, on the other hand, contains lengthy sequences (story-like passages) in which words having similar patterns repeatedly occur. 28 In the Annual Report of the Public Schools for the year 1883-84, the following reasons were given for the changeover to the series to which the 1884 First Primer belongs: "Among the many advantages gained by the introduction of the new series the following features are noticeable: - the excellency of the typographical execution; the judicious selection and gradation of the elementary combina-tions; the association of the written word-sign with the pictorial; . . • the careful gradation of the matter from lesson to lesson and from book to book . . . ." (Excerpt from the Annual Report of the Public Schools of the  Province of British Columbia, 1883-84. quoted by Green, 1938) Apparently what would today be considered a relatively heavy word burden was not a factor in the choice of materials at that time. The 1915 Beginner's Reader also has a proportionately high number of new words to running words. In a manner somewhat similar to the 1884 text, short sentences which act as a vehicle to introduce phonic elements in words comprise the body of the material. A statement which occurs i n a phonic manual of the period may provide an explanation for this device. According to this manual, which was prepared as a companion to a phonic primer, " . . . the short sentence aids i n gaining quick word recognition, inasmuch as i t admits of more practice on the new letter than does the long sentence or connected story" (Macmillan's, 1917). Like the 1884 and 1915 materials, the 1901 First Primer contains a number of non-sequential sentences which serve to introduce phonic elements i n words. However i n this case the sentences are confined to the f i r s t few pages of the text, and the body of the primer (about threekquarters) consists of short narrative passa-ges, some of which are associated with nursery rhymes. Beginning with the 1923 materials, isolated sentences do not occur and the narrative mode i s dominant. The very high number of new words in the 1968 series i s related to a system of word-introduction based on word patterns and a synthetic phonics system. As indicated by the claims of the editors, the word burden of this material i s not intended for comparison with earlier basal readers: 29 . . . children no longer need to he limited to a 40-60 word reading vocabulary in their i n i t i a l 4 months of formal reading instruction, but i n fact can quite easily synthesize (blend) up to 1,000 words i n that time period. The vast increase i n reading and writing vocabulary through this [multi-sensory and sound structure! approach i s a distinctive break with the traditional belief that the vocabulary provided by basic readers i s the limit of the reading vocabulary to be acquired by children in this period. (Linn (Ed.), Language Patterns Teacher's Guide. Part I. 1968, p.7) The vocabulary system used in these linguistic materials indicates that i n order to determine the word burden i t would be more appropriate to count the number of different word patterns rather than the number of different words. Repetitions Marked increases occur in the average number of repetitions of words in the 500-Word Samples for 1948 and 1964 i n comparison with the samples from other periods. As these series occurred i n a time of increasing use of vocabulary control i n readers in the United States, and as the 1948 series are i n fact American materials, the treatment of repetitions i n these readers i s explained most simply as a reflection of the then current practice. The relatively low average number of repetitions and the small differences between the averages for the samples in the periods other than 1948 and 1964 raise the question as to whether systematic repetition of words was used at a l l in these materials; i n other words, i t i s possible that equivalent levels of repetition might be found in any sample of reading material written for young children during the same time periods. However, i t became apparent during the tabulation of the data that methods of providing repetition existed in some of the materials prior to the intensive use of vocabulary control. A prevalent device for repetition in the early materials, and one similar to that used i n the recent 1968 series, i s repetition of word patterns. In the 1872 material, phonograms with a consistent sound-symbol relationship are repeated i n different words in the early lessons, e.g., at, fat. Pat; at the 30 same time, later lessons present orthographic variants of the same sound, e.g., be. bee, pea, or oh, mow, doe, oar, which indicates a rapidly increasing level of difficulty i n present-day terms. In the 1923 material (and occasionally i n the 1901 text), repetition of phonograms i s provided through the rhyming words of nursery rhymes, and these word patterns are repeated in prose retellings of the rhymes; repetition also occurs i n the tradtional nursery tales which are used i n this text. These observations suggest that a simple word count does not provide a complete picture of methods of repetition i n some of the early readers. The system of repetition i n the 1935 readers appears to be based on the use of the same words i n different contexts, the choice of words being determined by reference to the Gates Primary Word List. The method of repeating words i n different contexts i s the one used i n the 1948 and 1964 materials; here, hox*ever, and particularly i n the 1948 series, there i s also reliance on what might be called serial repetition, e.g., Oh, oh, oh or Look! Look!.; this device does not occur i n the 1935 materials. SUMMARY OF CHAPTER While the total number of running words in the readers i n the four earliest periods of the study, 1872, 1884, 1901, and 1915, varied somewhat in quantity, the ' numbers were relatively small. In the next period, 1923, approximately three times as many running words occurred as i n the 1915 text, and a trend towards increasingly larger amounts of material in first-grade readers continued i n each of the following three periods, 1935, 1948, and 1964. Over the same time periods, the number of new words introduced i n the readers increased only moderately, though comparatively large numbers were found in the 1923 and 1935 periods and an unusually small number i n the 1948 time period. An exception to these general tendencies occurred i n the findings for the 1968 material where the number of running words was comparable to the 1923 text, and the number of new words introduced was higher 31 than i n any of the other time periods. Except for the 1968 series, the relatively extreme change in quantities of reading material and the smaller change i n number of new words introduced in the readers over the periods of study resulted i n a reduced ratio of new words to running words in the later periods; this characteristic was particularly marked in the 1948 and 1964 materials. Similar average numbers of repetitions were found in the 500-Word Samples of the f i r s t six time periods and the 1968 period, but averages for the 1948 and 1964 samples were considerably higher. The range of repetitions followed a some-what different pattern, the greatest range occurring i n the 1884 sample and the least i n the samples for 1901 and 1915. Two reasons which have been advanced for the quantitative changes in modern readers i n the United States in comparison with the McGuffey leaders of the nine-teenth century, namely, the smaller relative cost of readers and the incorporation of word repetitions in the texts themselves, seem equally applicable to the changes observed over the periods of the present study. The growing abundance of word repetitions i n the 1935, 1948, and 1964 series indicates increasing use of then current practices in modern vocabulary control. However, i t was noted that the vocabulary burden of the 1968 linguistic series seemed less adequately described by a word count than i t might be by a count of word patterns; systems of repetition based on word patterns were also observed in the readers for 1872 and 1923. V. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS SUMMARY The problem of this study was to describe the vocabulary load of the texts authorized for beginning reading i n British Columbia from 1872 to the present, and to identify changes which have occurred i n this area of the readers over this time span. In order to determine the historical texts and ascertain periods of authori-zation, the l i s t s of authorized texts and other pertinent sources i n the history of British Columbia education were examined. Because the assignment of first-year textbooks prior to the establishment in 1923 of the present system of grade classi-fication i s not generally clear, the f i r s t reading text on the l i s t of authorized texts in each period of prescription prior to 1923 was arbitrarily designated as the beginning reader i n each case. The study was a descriptive word count, and word difficulty, and production and thematic differences in the texts were not taken into account; in addition, historical investigation was limited to systems of vocabulary introduction in readers, and no attempt was made to treat other factors which have affected education i n the Province over the period of study. Related Literature Research relative to this project was found in the areas of content analysis and vocabulary studies of beginning readers. The technique of content analysis, which requires the precise definition of the universe of content or "population" to be sampled, and the tabulation of a l l relevant instances of the categories of analysis, served as a procedural guide to the quantitative description of the reading vocabularies, and provided the rationale underlying the comparison of the resulting data. Vocabulary studies i n the research literature offered historical and current 32 33 information about systems of vocabulary introduction i n readers, and served to identify the dimensions of vocabulary load that were analyzed i n the present study. Examinations of vocabulary systems in historical readers reported by Nila Banton Smith i n her history of American reading instruction show that different systems of presenting words in readers have existed i n different time periods (Smith, 1965); however, a factor common to a l l the examples described was the presentation of words or word parts graded according to some perceived standard of, difficulty. E. W. Dolch (1945) compared the vocabularies of nineteenth-century McGuffey Readers and modern American readers and found that the latter provided considerably more reading material, fewer new words, and less d i f f i c u l t words than the former, but that there was considerable agreement between steps of difficultyin the two sets of readers. References to reading vocabularies in Edmund B. Huey's study of reading published early i n the present century (Huey, 1908) indicate a concern for how the context of words can enlarge the vocabulary of a child rather than an interest i n limited numbers of new words. Early i n this century, frequency counts of reading vocabularies i n the United States led to the establishment of functional word l i s t s graded i n difficulty, and these came to be used as reference criteria for authors i n the preparation of children's readers. Also i n this period, researchers observed many inconsistencies i n beginning reading vocabularies and stressed the need for standards of selection and control. The system of controlled vocabulary which has since come into general use i n North American basal readers i s the planned introduction of a limited number of words, graded as to difficulty and interest, the repetition of these words i n differ-ent contexts at spaced intervals i n the text, and the carry-over of these words to succeeding books in the series. A similar method of vocabulary control was developed i n the United Kingdom. 34 A trend towards increasingly smaller vocabularies in American primers from the 1930s to the 1960s has been observed by reading authorities in the United States. On the other hand, Scottish studies reported in the early 1950s show widely ranging vocabulary burdens in beginning readers. Data from Scottish vocabu-lary studies of this period were also used to justify a larger word burden in the primary programme of a Canadian reading series in contrast to the then small vocabu-laries of American beginning reading texts (Mcintosh (Ed.) and others, i960). The importance of controlled vocabularies i n reading texts as a solution to learning problems engendered by unregulated and heavy word loads, and the advan-tages of the system to both the child and the teacher have been cogently demonstrated in the writings of such leading reading authorities as Gray and Schonell. Recently, however, and in the light of the wider experiences of today's children, some re-searchers have questioned the too rigorous application of the principle. There i s also evidence that the vocabulary burden of United States primers i s increasing i n the 1970s. Methodology The universe of content for this analysis was the nine readers and reader series authorized for beginning reading in the Province of British Columbia since 1872. The f i r s t year of prescription was used to designate the time period i n each case, namely: 1872, 1884, 1901, 1915, 1923, 1935, 1948, 1964, and 1968. The 1964 and 1968 reader series are both currently prescribed. Criteria were specified for a Total Sample (with minor exceptions, this comprised a l l the reading content i n each text) and a 500-Word Sample (the f i r s t 500 words in the Total Sample). Thus there were nine Total Samples and nine 500-Word Samples. Por each Total Sample, the analysis consisted of tabulations of the total number of running words and the total number of new words introduced. For each 500-Word Sample, the average number and range of word repetitions were computed. 35 Findings The total numbers of running words in the 1872, 1884, 1901, and 1915 Total Samples were 3,495, 1,468, 2,540, and 2,,021 respectively. In the 1923 Total Sample, however, 7,252 running words were tabulated, or more than three times as many as i n 1915, the immediately preceding period. The trend towards increasingly larger amounts of reading material continued i n 1935, 1948, and 1964, which had 12,766, 20,577, and 23,177 running words in the Total Samples respectively. Over the same time periods, the numbers of new words introduced i n the readers varied only moderately; among these findings, the highest numbers of new words were 633 and 601 i n the 1923 and 1935 Total Samples, and the lowest number of new words was 341 i n the 1948 Total Sample. Exceptions to the general trends i n numbers of running words and numbers of new words were found in the 1968 Total Sample: specifically, the number of running words in the 1968 material was 7,531, an amount comparable to that for 1923, while the number of new words i n the 1968 material was 860, or higher than i n any of the other time periods. Compared with the four early periods, the large increases i n amounts of reading material and the lesser change i n numbers of new words introduced i n the readers i n the later periods (except for 1968) resulted i n a reduced ratio of new words to running words. Small ratios of new words to running words were particularly evident i n the 1948 and 1964 materials. The average number of repetitions found i n the 500-Word Samples of the f i r s t six time periods and the 1968 time period ranged from 3.0 to 6.3. Average repeti-tions for the 1948 and 1964 samples were considerably higher, namely 22.7 and 14.2 in each case. The greatest range of repetitions occurred i n the 1884 sample and the least i n the samples for 1901 and 1915. 36 CONCLUSIONS Within the scope of the dimensions analyzed, the results of this study provide a numerical description of the vocabulary load of each of the nine beginning readers prescribed for use i n British Columbia schools since 1872. This description shows the relationship between number of running words and number of new words in each period of study,; and indicates the extent of word repetition i n each case. However, during the tabulation of the data i t was observed that the dimensions of word introduction and word repetition tended to disguise the sequential introduction and repetition of words having similar patterns which occurred in the 1872 and 1923 readers and i n the 1968 linguistic series. It seems reasonable to conclude that the differences observed i n the results for the early and recent time periods illustrate the increasing application of principles of modern vocabulary control i n the 1935 and 1948 time periods, and i t s continued intensive use in the 1964 period. There i s evidence that a movement towards controlled vocabularies i n beginning readers began in the United States in the 1920s,; moreover, vocabulary studies of American beginning reading texts i n the thirty-year period from 1930 show a continuing decrease i n numbers of new words. The striking changes beginning in the 1935 time period of the present study i n numbers of new words and the proportion of new words to running words suggest by inference the relative immediacy and pervasiveness of the influence of American vocabulary practices i n these years of reading education in British Columbia. FUTURE RESEARCH Future study of the readers could usefully proceed i n two main directions. First, more information i s needed about methods of determining the vocabulary load of first-year readers. The present study has been concerned with relation-ships between aggregate numbers of words. However, the introduction and repeti-tion of words having similar patterns observed i n some of the readers of the sample point to a method of analysis which gives weight to this dimension. Secondly, the patterns of change observed i n the readers over the nine periods of prescription indicate that content analysis techniques could provide data for other meaningful comparisons. One kind of comparison that could be made i s a comparison of instructional practices over the different time periods. Classifiable data about methods of instruction occur in the notes to teachers i n the early texts, and in the manuals that are associated with the readers from 1923 onwards. Data from the present vocabulary study could be a contributing variable in such an analysis. An additional variable, and one which could be documented from historical sources, i s how reading was evaluated i n each time period. Another kind of comparison based on content analysis procedures i s a comparison of attitudes expressed i n the reading content. An attitude scale developed by Gaston E. Blom, Lawrence Wiberg, and others has been used to identify measurable differences in the attitudes expressed i n a cross-cultural sample of primers from thirteen countries (Blom & Wiberg, 1973). This instrument might be used for analyzing the attitude content of the beginning readers i n the different time periods and thus provide data for inferences about cultural change over the one-hundred year span of the materials. A purely descriptive study which explores whether or not measurable differences i n attitudes 38 expressed occur i n the readers of different time periods could be a f i r s t step i n such an investigation. Some of the problems of content analysis of children's reading materials have been examined (Patterson, 1976), and the reader i s referred to detailed references by Berelson (1952) and Holsti (1969). BIBLIOGRAPHY The Readers of the Study by Period of Prescription 1872. Canadian Series of School Books: First book of reading lessons. Part I. Toronto: James Campbell & Son, 1867. 1884. W. J. Gage & Co.'s Educational Series: The f i r s t primer. Toronto: ¥. J. Gage & Company, 1881. 1901. Hew Canadian Readers 20th Century Edition: First primer. Toronto: The Educational Book Co., Limited, 1901. 1915. The British Columbia Readers: A beginner's reader. Toronto: W. J. Gage Limited (1915). 1923. The Canadian Readers. Book I: A primer and f i r s t reader. Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1924. 1935. Hoy, Henrietta, and others. Highroads to Reading: Jerry and Jane. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1934. Sheffield, P. H., and others. Highroads to Reading: Book one. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1934. 1948. Gray, William S., and others. Basic Readers: Curriculum Foundation  Series. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1946. Pre-reader 1: We look and see Pre-reader 2: We work and play • Pre-reader 3: We come and go ______ Primer: Fun with Dick and Jane First reader: Our new friends 1964. Mcintosh, J. R. (Ed.), and others. The Canadian Reading Development Series - Primary. Toronto: The Copp Clark Publishing Co. Limited, I960. Pre-primer: Off to school _____ Primer: Come along with me ______ First reader: It's story time 1968. Linn, John R. (Ed.), and others. Language Patterns Series. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1968. ______ Listening letters (First reader) ______ Laughing letters Magic letters Teacher's Manuals Bollert, Grace. The Highroads manual. Grade one. Toronto: The Ryerson Press and The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1934. Burnett, Eliza Moore. Manual of method to accompany The Canadian Reader - Book 1. Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1925. 39-40 Gray, William S., and others. Curriculum Foundation Series; Combined guidebook  for the First-grade program. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1946. Linn, John R. (Ed.), and others. Language Patterns Series: Teacher's Guide (2 vols.). Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1968. Macmillan's Canadian School Series: A phonic manual. Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada, Limited, 1917. Mcintosh, J. R. (Ed.), and others. The Canadian Reading Development Series - Primary: Teacher's manual (3 vols.).Toronto:The Copp Clark Publishing Co. Ijimited, I960. Schonell, Fred J. Happy Venture teacher's Manual. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1959. Government Documents First Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of British Columbia.  1871-72. Victoria, B. C : Government Printer, 1872. Fourteenth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of British Columbia.  1884-85. Victoria, B. C : Government Printer, 1885. Forty-Fourth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of British Columbia, 1914- 1915. Victoria, B. C : King's Printer, 1916. Forty-Fifth Annual Report of the Public Schools of theEProvince of British Columbia. 1915- 1916. Victoria, B. C : King's Printer, 1917. Province of British Columbia Department of Education, Division of Curriculum. British Columbia language arts guide - Primary levels. 1968. Mimeographed. Victoria, B. C , 1968. Province of British Columbia Department of Education. Prescribed textbooks  1965-64. Grades I-XIII. Victoria: Queen's Printer, 1963. Province of British Columbia Department of Education. Prescribed textbooks  1964-65. Grades I-XIII. Victoria: Queen's Printer, 1964. Province of British Columbia Department of Education. Prescribed textbooks  1976-77. Grades K-XII. Victoria: Queen's Printer, 1976. Province of British Columbia Department of Education. Programme of studies for  the elementary schools of British Columbia. 1925-1926. Victoria: King's Printer, 1925. Province of British Columbia Department of Education. Programme of studies for  the elementary schools of British Columbia. Grades I to VI. Bulletin I. Victoria: King's Printer, 1936. Sixty-Third Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of British Columbia.  1935-34. Victoria, B. C : King's Printer, 1934. 41 Sixty-Fourth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of British Columbia.  1934-55. Victoria, B. C : King's Printer, 1935. Articles. Books, and Unpublished Papers Berelson, B. Content analysis i n communication research. Glencoe, 111.: The Free Press, 1952., Blom, Gaston E., & Wiberg, J. Lawrence. Attitude contents in reading primers. In John Downing (Ed.) Comparative reading. New York: Macmillan, 1973. Boyce, Eleanor. Canadian readers since 1846. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Manitoba, 1949. Covell, H. M. The development of reading i n Canada. Unpublished manuscript, The University of British Columbia.(No date) Dolch,Edward W. A basic sight vocabulary. Elementary School Journal. 1936, 26, 456-460. Dolch, Edward W. How hard were the McGuffey Readers? Elementary School Journal. 1945 , 46 , 97-100. Gates, Arthur I. A reading vocabulary for the primary grades. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1926. Gray, William S. Summary of investigations relating to reading. University of Chicago Supplementary Monograph, No. 28. Chicago, 1925. Gray, William S. Summary of investigations relating to reading. Elementary  School Journal. 1926. Gray, William S. Summary of investigations relating to reading. Journal of  Educational Research. 1938, 21,. 401-434. Gray, William S. On their own i n reading. (Rev. ed.) Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, I 9 6 0 . ( a l Gray, William S. Reading. In Chester W. Harris (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Research. 3rd ed. New York: The Macmillan Company, I960, (b) Green, George H. E. The development of the curriculum i n the elementary schools of British Columbia prior to 1936. Unpublished Master's Thesis, The Uni-versity of British Columbia, 1938. Harris, Theodore L. Reading. In Robert L. Ebel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Research. 4th ed. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1969. Holsti, Ole R. Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1969. Huey, Edmund B. The psychology and pedagogy of reading. New York: Macmillan Co., 1908. Mathews, Mitford M. Teaching to read: historically considered. Chicago: 42 University of Chicago Press, 1966. Parvin, Viola Elizabeth. Authorization of textbooks for the schools of Ontario:, 1846-1950. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965. Patterson, Joyce. Information profile: content analysis of reading materials  for children. Unpublished manuscript, 1976. Schonell, Fred J. The psychology and teaching of reading. 3rd ed. London: Oliver and Boyd Ltd., 1951. Smith, Nila Banton. American reading instruction. Rev. ed. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1965. Spache, George D., & Spache, Evelyn B. Reading i n the elementary school. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1977. Thorndike, Edward L. The teacher's word book. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1921. Topping, Marion. A comparative study of the readers-used in Grades I through VI  in the schools of British Columbia from 1900-1967. Unpublished manuscript, The University of British Columbia, 1968. APPENDIX A: PERIODS OF PRESCRIPTION AND THE PRESCRIBED READERS Secondary Sources An unpublished survey of the eight different reading series prescribed for use in British Columbia schools from 1900 to 1967 (Topping, 1968) provided dates of prescription and t i t l e s of the series used over those years. Reference was also made to unpublished findings by Covell (undated) and Boyce (1949). Using these three sources, i t was possible to tentatively identify some of the early readers and the intervals of authorization. Since i t was necessary to verify the dates of prescription and ascertain the beginning reader or readers i n each case, a search was made to find the original l i s t s of authorized textbooks. A study by Green (1938) on the development of the curriculum i n the elementary schools of British Columbia prior to 1936 showed that the l i s t s of authorized texts were published i n different sources ati different times, namely: 1872-1893 and 1911: Annual Reports of the Public Schools of the Province of  British Columbia 1893-1916: Manuals of School Law After 1916: separate booklets under various t i t l e s Green's study also provided useful information about: text authorization i n the periods 1884, 1900-1901, and 1923; the classification system used in the schools prior to 1923; and the changeover tbcthe present grade system i n 1923. Primary Sources 1872. The f i r s t reading text on the l i s t of the authorized textbooks published i n the First Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of British Columbia.  1871-72 (1872) i s : Canadian First Reader - Part I. Examination of bibliographic and other data i n the readers in the Special Collections Division of the University 43 44 of British Columbia, and references i n a history of Ontario prescribed texts (Parvin, 1965) indicated that this text was: Canadian Series of School Books: First Book of Reading Lessons.  Part I. Toronto: James Campbell & Son, 1967. For purposes of the study, this book was arbitrarily designated the first-year reader in the 1872 period of authorization. 1884. References to the change i n texts which occurred i n 1884 were found in Green's study (1938), but the Annual Report for 1883-84 was not available for examination. However, the f i r s t reading text on the l i s t of authorized textbooks in the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of British Columbia. 1884-85 (1885) i s : Gage's First Primer, Pt. I. There seems l i t t l e question but that this text was: W. J. Gage & Co.'s Educational Series: The First Primer. Toronto: W. J. Gage & Company, 1881. For purposes of the study, this book was arbitrarily designated the first-year reader i n the 1884 period of authorization. (This text i s based on a series prepared by J. M. D. Meiklejohn; for a reference to this author's work, see Mathews, 1966, p. 154.) 1901. Since the Manuals of School Law were not available, the description by Green (1938) of the changeover to the .Twentieth Century Edition of the N_ew Canadian Readers i n 1901 was used to confirm the date and ascertain the appro-priate text for this period of prescription, namely: Hew Canadian Readers 20th Century Edition: First Primer. Toronto: The Educational Book Co., Limited, 1901. Following the rule for selection used i n the two previous time periods, and on the basis of information about assignment of the readers in the Junior Division (Green, 1938), this text was designated the first-year reader i n the 1901 period of prescription. 1915. Although The British Columbia Readers: First Reader of 1915 was 45 available to the researcher, and although other sources pointed to a change i n readers in this year, no reference to changes in readers in 1915 was found i n Green's study (1938); moreover, the Manuals of School Law were not available. However, extracts from Circulars of Instructions in the Annual Reports of 1914-15 and 1915-16 (Forty-Fourth Annual. 1916; Forty-Fifth Annual. 1917) confirmed the gradual displacement beginning i n 1915 of the First and Second Primers and First and Second Readers of the previous series. The f i r s t two texts listed i n the extract for 1915 appeared in reverse order the following year, 1916 (the change i s stipulated, but not explained); thus the 1915 materials, using the 1916 order for the f i r s t two texts, were as follows: B. C. Beginner's Reader (replacing the former First Primer); B. C. Phonic Primer (replacing the former Second Primer); B. C. First Reader (replacing the former First Reader). . . . On the basis of this listing, and as a result of a further search of the Special Collections Division sources, the following text was identified as the f i r s t reader i n this period of authorization: The British Columbia Readers: A Beginner's Reader. Toronto: W. J. Gage & Co., Limited (Title page with date missing). 1923. In addition to information provided by Green (1938) regarding the change-over i n reading texts which occurred i n 1923, further bibliographic verifica-tion was found in the List of Authorized Text-Books for Public Schools published i n the Programme of Studies for the Elementary Schools of British Columbia. 1925-1926 (Province of B. C , 1925). The authorized text for Grade I i n this period was: The Canadian Readers. Book I: A Primer and First Reader. Toronto: The Macmillan.Company of Canada Limited, 1924. 1935. The next change in reading texts, which occurred i n 1935, was verified by comparing the l i s t s of free textbooks issued i n the Annual Reports for 1933-34 and 1934-35 (Sixty-Third Annual. 1934; Sixty-Fourth Annual. 1935) respectively. The texts designated for Grade I were also confirmed by reference to the Programme 46 of Studies for the Elementary Schools of British Columbia. Grades I to VI. Bulletin I (Province of B. C , 1936). Specifically, the Grade I texts were: Highroads to Reading: Jerry and Jane (Primer); Book One. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1934. 1948. Since original sources documenting the change in reading texts i n 1948 were not available, secondary sources cited above (Topping, 1968; Covell, undated) were used to identify the year of authorization and the authorized texts. The newly authorized series was: Curriculum Foundation Series First-Grade Program: Pre-Readers 1. 2.  and 3: Primer: First Reader. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1946. 1964. The 1964 revision i n the authorized l i s t of reading texts for Grade I was verified by comparing the 1963-64 and 1964-65 l i s t s of Prescribed Textbooks (Province of B. C , 1963, 1964). The new texts on the 1964-65 l i s t were: The Canadian Reading Development Series - Primary: Pre-Primer;  Primer: First Reader. Toronto: The Copp Clark Publishing Co. Limited, I960. 1968. The addition of authorized alternate reading material for Grade I i n 1968 was confirmed by reference to the British Columbia Language Arts Guide -Primary Levels. 1968 (Province of B. C , 1968). Specifically, the texts were: Language Patterns Series: Listening Letters; Laughing Letters:  Magic Letters: Adventures with"Mac. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada,, Limited, 1968. As the f i r s t three texts in the foregoing series are readers and as the fourth text i s a novelette, i t was decided to limit the sample for this period of authorization to the three readers. Prescribed readers 1976-77. The two series currently prescribed for Grade I remain the same as those authorized i n ,1964 and 1968, and are listed i n Prescribed Textbooks 1976-77 Grades K-XII (Province of B. C , 1976). 

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