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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 I s o b e l  Patterson  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the F a c u l t y of GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Reading Education  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard  (5)  JOYCE ISOBEL-PATTERSON, 1977  UNr/ERSITY OF.BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1977  In  presenting  an  advanced  the I  Library  further  for  of  this  written  shall  agree  at make  that  thesis  freely  may It  is  fulfilment  of  of  Columbia,  British  available  for  for extensive  be g r a n t e d  financial  by  understood  gain  shall  of  University  ^e^di^cf of  British  that  not  27 AUGUST 1977  £aJU^*uh»-n Columbia  the  requirements I  agree  reference and copying  t h e Head o f  permission.  2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1WS  Date  it  permission  purposes  for  in p a r t i a l  the U n i v e r s i t y  representatives.  Department The  thesis  degree  scholarly  by h i s  this  of  this  be a l l o w e d  or  that  study. thesis  my D e p a r t m e n t  copying  for  or  publication  without  my  Supervisor:  Dr. H. M. Covell  ABSTRACT  Identifies and compares three dimensions of the vocabulary load of the nine readers and reader series prescribed f o r beginning reading i n the Province of B r i t i s h 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 M n i s t r y of Education.)  Tabulations  were made f o r 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  w s 392, 367, 405, 447, 633, 601, 341, 500, and 860 i n each case. a  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.  of repetitions i n the same 500-word sample was as follows i n each case: 1-75, 1-34, 1-31, 1-55, 1*38, 5-60, 1-54, and 1-38.  The range 1-43,  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 f o r 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  ii to determine attitudes expressed.  Appendix describes procedures i n 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 i n 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 B r i t i s h 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 i n the Reading ResourcesCentre, Faculty of Education, University of B r i t i s h Columbia); and to Miss Dorothy Sharrock of the Reading Resources Centre for the materials prescribed i n 1948,  iii  1964, and 1968.  TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I.  PAGE  THE PROBLEM  1  Introduction  1  Purpose of the Study  2  Source Material  2  Definition of Terms  2  The Prescribed Beginning Readers and Reader Series  II.  ..  3  Limitations of the Study  4  SUMMARY OP CHAPTER  4  REVIEW OP RELATED LITERATURE  6  CONTENT ANALYSIS AS A RESEARCH TECHNIQUE  6  VOCABULARY STUDIES OF BEGINNING READERS  7  Word L i s t s  7  Vocabulary Control  . . . . .  •  7  Definition  7  Reasons for vocabulary control  8  H i s t o r i c a l survey of vocabulary control  9  Pros and cons of vocabulary control  14  SUMMARY OF CHAPTER III. IV.  15  METHODOLOGY  16  RESULTS  -  18  THE TOTAL SAMPLES  18  Number of Running Words  18  Number of New Words  18  Comparison of Running Words and New Words  iv  . . . . . . .  21  V.  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  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 f o r beginning reading i n B r i t i s h Columbia since the inception of public schooling i n the Province i n 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 i n 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 f o r a technique which would serve both to describe the readers and to identify changes i n the materials over time* The search revealed many applications of systematic content analysis procedures i n textbook analysis, readability studies, and h i s t o r i c a l descriptions of readers.  This process, which usually results i n quantitative information, permits  v a l i d inferences about relationships between the data. It was also found that there has been a marked.interest  i n this century i n the  vocabulary load of children's readers, s p e c i f i c a l l y , 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 f o r 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 l i m i t 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 B r i t i s h 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 B r i t i s h Columbia; and publications of the Province of B r i t i s h 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 f o r the Elementary Schools, and Division of Curriculum materials.  Reference was also made to the teacher's manuals which  accompanied the prescribed readers i n recent periods of prescription. Secondary materials comprised books, a r t i c l e s , 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 f o r 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 F i r s t Reader authorized i n 1935.  Beginning reader - In this study, a general term for any reader intended f o r  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; f o r 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 d i f f i c u l t y 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 f o r B r i t i s h 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 F i r s t Primer i n the three readers prescribed f o r the Junior grade i n 1901, and the Beginner's Reader i n 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 i n 1923 with a division into Grades I to VIII. Beginning i n 1923, therefore, the readers prescribed f o r Grade I were the materials of study. Procedures and sources used to identify and verify the periods of prescription and the prescribed readers are described i n Appendix A.  The nine readers  and reader series of the study are l i s t e d chronologically by f i r s t year of prescription i n 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, i l l u s t r a t i o n s , word d i f f i c u l t y , or subject matter of the materials. Nor w i l l the study attempt to analyze the larger s o c i a l , economic, and technological changes which have affected education, and therefore children's readers, i n B r i t i s h Columbia during the period of study. SUMMARY OF CHAPTER The texts authorized for beginning reading i n B r i t i s h 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 i n 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.  I t was also observed that this form of analysis provides numerical  data that can be used to describe and compare readers of different h i s t o r i c a l periods.  Consequently, i t was decided to tabulate the vocabulary load of the  readers i n each period of prescription and compare the resulting data i n order to identify changes which may have taken place i n 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 f o r 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 communicated 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)  applications i n the f i e l d .  describes more recent theoretical concepts and  Requirements of the procedure are:  precise s p e c i f i -  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 occurrences of the categories i n the sample. V a l i d i t y 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.  R e l i a b i l i t y requires consistency  i n coding occurrences of the categories; when judgements are involved, inter-coder r e l i a b i l i t y should be measured and reported.  6  7 VOCABULARY STUDIES OP BEGINNING READERS Word L i s t s 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 i n 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 textbooks, 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 , interest, and d i f f i c u l t y . H  The selection c r i t e r i a 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 i n basic reading  programmes i s "a planned, sequential pattern of introducing and maintaining vocabulary" which helps to ensure mastery of a stock of sight words (words instantaneously 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 i n 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 i n each book of the series i s controlled. I t i s now a well-established teaching principle that the amount and the d i f f i c u l t y 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 i n familiar phrases, and i n a variety of contexts. I t i s word control plus repetition that makes for effective word recognition. Thus i n 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 f o r vocabulary control.  Controlling the vocabulary burden of early  reading texts was a response to the "heavy" and unregulated word loads occurring i n 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 f a i l u r e rates i n 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 i n 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 i n 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 f o r 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 f o r 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 F i r s t 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 f o r reading. letters were being used.  By Lesson LXV, words of three and four  Referring to the vocabulary of the stories, Smith found  10 that the sentences were usually subservient to the phonetic elements which McGuffey selected f o r 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 i n 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 s i l e n t 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 i n 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 t o t a l 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 f o r early readers against " s c i e n t i f i c a l l y determined vocabulary l i s t s " , a l l the words i n the pre-primers and primers were repeated i n 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 t o t a l of 148.  Smith reported that authors continued  to check vocabulary against word l i s t s i n these years, except f o r one group who said such a practice has many f a l l a c i e s (Smith, 1965, p. 328). Smith reviewed the sequential development of applying l i n g u i s t i c 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 l i n g u i s t i c principles.  The f i r s t publication f o r children's use  11 appeared i n 1961 and was t i t l e d Let's Read. Approximately 5000 words were introduced i n the book as a whole.  The learning sequence proceeded from the  alphabet to words having similar patterns, followed i n 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, " i s 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 f o r the express purpose of applying l i n g u i s t i c theory" (p. 389); a beginning reading programme similar to the e a r l i e r 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, p i 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 l e f t f o r them to take i n the various contexts i n which they occur" (p. 348).  .12 Studies made i n 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 f o r the three primary grades was c r i t i c i z e d as being too small, a point j u s t i f i e d by a study of textbooks for the f i r s t three grades prescribed by Oregon State where a t o t a l 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 d i f f i c u l t i e s i n 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 f o r standards of selection i n beginning reading vocabularies (Gray, 1926). E. ¥. Dolch compared modern readers with the h i s t o r i c a l McGuffey Readers of the same grade l e v e l (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 d i 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 i n 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 s p e c i f i c a l l y prepared for English-speaking children and made available i n B r i t i s h 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 w i l l 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 i n 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 d i f 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 f i v e , one year e a r l i e r than North American children, made more than a year's progress i n the f i r s t grade i n terms of the Metropolitan Reading Test. The evidence of these Scottish studies was a factor i n the rationale f o r 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 i n 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,  first-.  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 j u s t i f i e d :  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 i n 1961 and 1962 showed that even the poorest readers i n Grades two and three recognize a large proportion of the words i n 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 i n primary grades persist into college l e v e l . 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 i n children's environment were cited by Mcintosh and associates (1962) to j u s t i f y a reduced readiness or pre-reading period i n their first-year programme; however, an additional influence i n children's l i v e s  15 mentioned by these authorities was the "smooth upward gradient" provided by beginning reading programmes.  SUMMARY OP CHAPTER The procedure used i n vocabulary studies i s content analysis, a research technique for quantifying and comparing the material of human communication. Analysis of reading vocabularies i n the form of word counts began i n the United States i n the  1920s for  the purpose of creating functional word l i s t s and  evaluating the d i f f i c u l t y 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 i n North American basal readers since that time.  A similar system of controlling the vocabulary burden of early readers  was developed i n the United Kingdom. Vocabulary studies of beginning readers indicate that different systems of presenting words have existed i n different h i s t o r i c a l 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 d i f f i c u l t y was introduced and provision was made f o r 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 repetitive nature of folktales i n the organization of beginning reading vocabularies. In recent years, the l i n g u i s t i c method of introducing words based on word patterns has been used i n 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 B r i t i s h 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 B r i t i s h Columbia Department of Education,  v i z . . 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 i n each time period. The sample f o r the f i r s t and second tabulations comprised a l l the material i n 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 f o r enrichment.  This sample was called the  Total Sample i n each case; thus there were nine Total Samples, one f o r each time period. The sample f o r 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 f o r each text i n the series. the  In the f i r s t analysis,  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 l i s t e d and their numbers totalled; i n cases of series, the count f o r each book excluded words 16  previously used i n the same series.  F i n a l l y , f o r 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 f o r each time period are shown i n Table 1.  The beginning readers f o r 1872, 1884, 1901, and 1915, which  have 3,495, 1,468, 2,540, and 2,021 running word respectively, provide r e l a t i v e l y small amounts of reading material i n comparison with totals f o r subsequent time periods.  Moreover, among these early texts, that f o r 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 f o r 1923.  Number of New Words Table 2 shows the number of new words introduced i n each reader and the t o t a l 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 i n 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  PrePrimer  , PrePrimer  PrePrimer  Primer  3,495  1872  Totals  3,495  a  1884  1,468  l,468  1901  2,540  2,540  1915  2,021  2,021  1923  2,327  4,925  7,252  1935  4,461  8,305  12,766  1,591  6,061  11,549  20,577  2,169  7,385  13,623  23,177  2,644  4,350  7,531  401  1948 1964 1968  a  First Reader  b  975  537°  a  T h i s figure represents the word count f o r the f i r s t reading text on the  authorized l i s t f o r this time period; the t o t a l first-year programme i s not precisely known. Results are shown f o r three readers i n a series of three readers and one novelette. °First reader.  a  a  20  Table 2  Number of New Words i n Each Total Sample  Time Period  PrePrimer  PrePrimer  PrePrimer  1872  First Reader  Totals  392  392  a  1884  367  367  1901  405  405  1915  447  1923  273  360  633  1935  284  317  601  21  99  182  341  1964  83  183  234  500  1968*  111°  312  437  860  1948  ^his  17  22  a  a  figure represents the word count f o r the f i r s t reading text on the  authorized l i s t f o r this time period; the t o t a l 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 f o r 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 f o r every 100 running words.  The results f o r 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 i n 1923 with the 1948 series having the smallest r a t i o .  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 i n 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  - Running Words • • New Words  25000  2500  20000i-  2000  Io  15000  J1500 |  u 1000 <D  10000  5000  500  JL  1872  1884  1901  _L  1915  X 1923  1935  1948  1964  1968  Time Period  Figure 1* Total Sample.  Number of running words and number of new words i n each  23  01  I  1872  I  1884  I  1901  I  I  I  i  1915  1923  1935  1948  1 1964  1 1968  Time Period  Figure 2» Ratio of new words to 100 running words i n each Total Sample.  Table 3  Average Number and Range of Repetitions i n each 500-Word Sample  Time ^*3X*jL0CL  R e p e t i t i o n s — — — — M l i m i  I — • . 1 1 . • III • IIH.MIII..I.II.IIH • • ! • I  Average Number  II !•• • IIHI  — —  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 of Occurrences  Number of New Words 1872  71-80  1884  1901  1915  1923  1935  1948  1964  1968  2  1  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  6  5  2  1  61 - 70 . - 60 . - 50  1  . - 40  1  . - 30  2  1  20 19  1  1  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  18 17  1  16  1  1  1 1  1  1  1  3  1  1  2  1  2  15 14  1  13  1  1 2  1  2 2  12  1 1  1  4  1  2  1  1  1  2  3  1  11  2  10  5  2  9  3  2  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  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  35  108  3 3  1  3  3  3  3  4  4  1  1  1  3  13  22  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 respectively.  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: F i r s t , 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 u n t i l he could repeat i t almost verbatim, and he might even read the whole book again and again u n t i l 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 i l l u s t r a t e d 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 i n 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 N i l a 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 v i r t u a l l y 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 i n B r i t i s h Columbia schools. The r e l a t i v e l y small number of running words i n the 1968 series represents a break i n 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 l i n g u i s t i c principles appeared i n the United States as recently as 1961 (Smith, 1965).  Number of New Words The 1884 F i r s t 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 " i n 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 F i r s t Primer).  The 1872 text, on the other hand, contains lengthy sequences  (story-like passages) i n which words having similar patterns repeatedly occur.  28 In the Annual Report of the Public Schools f o r the year 1883-84, the following reasons were given for the changeover to the series to which the 1884 F i r s t 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 combinations; the association of the written word-sign with the p i c t o r i a l ; . . • 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 B r i t i s h Columbia, 1883-84. quoted by Green, 1938) Apparently what would today be considered a r e l a t i v e l y heavy word burden was not a factor i n 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 i n 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 l e t t e r than does the long sentence or connected story" (Macmillan's, 1917). Like the 1884 and 1915 materials, the 1901 F i r s t 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 passages, 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 i n 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 f o r comparison with e a r l i e r basal readers:  29 . . . children no longer need to he limited to a 40-60 word reading vocabulary i n 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 i n this period. (Linn (Ed.), Language Patterns Teacher's Guide. Part I. 1968, p.7) The vocabulary system used i n these l i n g u i s t i c 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 i n the average number of repetitions of words i n 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 i n 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 r e l a t i v e l y low average number of repetitions and the small differences between the averages for the samples i n the periods other than 1948 and  1964  raise the question as to whether systematic repetition of words was used at a l l i n these materials; i n other words, i t i s possible that equivalent levels of repetition might be found i n 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 i n some of the materials prior to the intensive use of vocabulary control. A prevalent device for repetition i n 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 i n the early lessons, e.g., at, f a t . 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 l e v e l of d i f f i c u l t y 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 i n 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 L i s t .  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 s e r i a l 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 i n the readers i n the four earliest periods of the study, 1872, 1884, 1901, and 1915, varied somewhat i n quantity, the ' numbers were r e l a t i v e l y 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 i n 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 i n 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  r e l a t i v e l y extreme change i n quantities of reading material and the smaller change i n number of new words introduced i n the readers over the periods of study resulted i n a reduced ratio of new words to running words i n the later periods; this characteristic was particularly marked i n the 1948 and 1964 materials. Similar average numbers of repetitions were found i n the 500-Word Samples of the f i r s t six time periods and the 1968 period, but averages for the 1948 1964 samples were considerably higher.  and  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 i n modern readers i n the United States i n comparison with the McGuffey leaders of the nineteenth century, namely, the smaller relative cost of readers and the incorporation of word repetitions i n 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 i n modern vocabulary control.  However, i t was noted that the  vocabulary burden of the 1968 l i n g u i s t i c 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 i n 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 f o r beginning reading i n B r i t i s h 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 h i s t o r i c a l 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 B r i t i s h Columbia education were examined. Because the assignment of first-year textbooks prior to the establishment i n 1923 of the present system of grade c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s not generally clear, the f i r s t reading text on the l i s t of authorized texts i n each period of prescription prior to 1923 was a r b i t r a r i l y designated as the beginning reader i n each case.  The study was a descriptive word count, and word  d i f f i c u l t y , and production and thematic differences i n the texts were not taken into account; i n addition, h i s t o r i c a l investigation was limited to systems of vocabulary introduction i n 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 i n 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 h i s t o r i c a l 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 i n h i s t o r i c a l readers reported by N i l a Banton Smith i n her history of American reading instruction show that different systems of presenting words i n 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, d i f f i c u l t y .  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 d i f f i c u l t y i n the two sets of readers.  References to reading vocabularies i n 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 d i f f i c u l t y , and these came to be used as reference c r i t e r i a 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 d i f f i c u l t y and interest, the repetition of these words i n d i f f e r ent contexts at spaced intervals i n the text, and the carry-over of these words to succeeding books i n the series. developed i n the United Kingdom.  A similar method of vocabulary control was  34 A trend towards increasingly smaller vocabularies i n American primers from the 1930s to the 1960s has been observed by reading authorities i n the United States.  On the other hand, Scottish studies reported i n the early 1950s show  widely ranging vocabulary burdens i n beginning readers.  Data from Scottish vocabu-  lary studies of this period were also used to j u s t i f y a larger word burden i n the primary programme of a Canadian reading series i n contrast to the then small vocabul a r i e s 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 advantages of the system to both the child and the teacher have been cogently demonstrated i n the writings of such leading reading authorities as Gray and Schonell.  Recently,  however, and i n the light of the wider experiences of today's children, some researchers 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 i n the Province of B r i t i s h 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. C r i t e r i a 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 i n the Total Sample). Word Samples.  Thus there were nine Total Samples and nine 500-  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 i n 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 i n 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 i n the 1968 Total Sample: specifically, the number of running words i n the 1968 material was 7,531, an amount comparable to that f o r 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 f o r the 1948 and 1964 samples were considerably higher, namely 22.7 and 14.2 i n each case.  The greatest range of repetitions occurred i n the 1884 sample and the  least i n the samples f o r 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 B r i t i s h Columbia schools since 1872. This description shows the relationship between number of running words and number of new words i n 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 i n the 1872 and 1923 readers and i n the 1968 l i n g u i s t i c series. It seems reasonable to conclude that the differences observed i n the results for the early and recent time periods i l l u s t r a t e the increasing application of principles of modern vocabulary control i n the 1935 and 1948 time periods, and i t s continued intensive use i n the 1964 period. There i s evidence that a movement towards controlled vocabularies i n beginning readers began i n the United States i n 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 i n 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 i n B r i t i s h Columbia.  FUTURE RESEARCH  Future study of the readers could usefully proceed i n two main directions. F i r s t , 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 repetition 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 i n the notes to teachers i n the early texts, and i n the manuals that are associated with the readers from 1923  onwards. Data from the present vocabulary study could be a contributing  variable i n such an analysis.  An additional variable, and one which could be  documented from h i s t o r i c a l 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 i n the attitudes expressed i n a cross-cultural sample of primers from thirteen countries (Blom & Wiberg,  1973).  This instrument  might be used f o r 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: F i r s t book of reading lessons. Part I . Toronto: James Campbell & Son, 1867.  1884.  W. J . Gage & Co.'s Educational Series: Gage & Company, 1881.  1901.  Hew Canadian Readers 20th Century Edition: The Educational Book Co., Limited, 1901.  1915.  The B r i t i s h Columbia Readers: Limited (1915).  1923.  The Canadian Readers. Book I: A primer and f i r s t reader. Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1924.  1935.  Hoy, Henrietta, and others. Highroads to Reading: Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1934.  The f i r s t primer. F i r s t primer.  Toronto: Toronto:  A beginner's reader. Toronto:  Sheffield, P. H., and others. Highroads to Reading: Ryerson Press, 1934.  ¥. J .  W. J . Gage  The  Jerry and Jane.  Book one.  Toronto:  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 F i r s t 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 ______ F i r s t reader: I t ' s story time  1968.  Linn, Holt, ______ ______  John R. (Ed.), and others. Language Patterns Series. Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1968. Listening letters (First reader) Laughing letters Magic letters  Toronto:  Teacher's Manuals Bollert, Grace. The Highroads manual. Grade one. Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1934.  The Ryerson Press and  Burnett, E l i z a 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 v o l s . ) . T o r o n t o : T h e Copp Clark Publishing Co. Ijimited, I960. Schonell, Fred J . Happy Venture teacher's Manual.  London:  Oliver and Boyd, 1959.  Government Documents F i r s t Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1871-72. V i c t o r i a , B. C : Government Printer, 1872. Fourteenth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1884-85. Victoria, B. C : Government Printer, 1885. Forty-Fourth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1914-1915. Victoria, B. C : King's Printer, 1916. Forty-Fifth Annual Report of the Public Schools of theEProvince of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1915-1916. Victoria, B. C : King's Printer, 1917. Province of B r i t i s h Columbia Department of Education, Division of Curriculum. B r i t i s h Columbia language arts guide - Primary levels. 1968. Mimeographed. Victoria, B. C , 1968. Province of B r i t i s h Columbia Department of Education. Prescribed textbooks 1965-64. Grades I-XIII. V i c t o r i a : Queen's Printer, 1963. Province of B r i t i s h Columbia Department of Education. Prescribed textbooks 1964-65. Grades I-XIII. V i c t o r i a : Queen's Printer, 1964. Province of B r i t i s h Columbia Department of Education. Prescribed textbooks 1976-77. Grades K-XII. V i c t o r i a : Queen's Printer, 1976. Province of B r i t i s h Columbia Department of Education. Programme of studies f o r the elementary schools of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1925-1926. Victoria: King's Printer, 1925. Province of B r i t i s h Columbia Department of Education. Programme of studies f o r the elementary schools of B r i t i s h Columbia. Grades I to VI. Bulletin I . Victoria: King's Printer, 1936. Sixty-Third Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1935-34. Victoria, B. C : King's Printer, 1934.  41 Sixty-Fourth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1934-55. V i c t o r i a , B. C : King's Printer, 1935.  A r t i c l e s . Books, and Unpublished Papers Berelson, B. Content analysis i n communication research. The Free Press, 1952.,  Glencoe, 111.:  Blom, Gaston E., & Wiberg, J . Lawrence. Attitude contents i n 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 B r i t i s h 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? 1945 , 46 , 97-100.  Elementary School Journal.  Gates, Arthur I . A reading vocabulary for the primary grades. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1926.  New York:  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. Foresman and Company, I 9 6 0 . ( a l Gray, William S. Reading. Educational Research.  (Rev. ed.) Chicago:  Scott,  In Chester W. Harris (Ed.), Encyclopedia of 3rd ed. New York: The Macmillan Company, I960,  (b)  Green, George H. E. The development of the curriculum i n the elementary schools of B r i t i s h Columbia prior to 1936. Unpublished Master's Thesis, The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1938. Harris, Theodore L. Reading. In Robert L. Ebel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Research. 4th ed. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1969. H o l s t i , Ole R. Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. Don M i l l s , Ontario: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1969. Huey, Edmund B. Co., 1908.  The psychology and pedagogy of reading. New York:  Mathews, Mitford M.  Teaching to read: h i s t o r i c a l l y considered.  Macmillan  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 p r o f i l e : content analysis of reading materials for children. Unpublished manuscript, 1976. Schonell, Fred J . The psychology and teaching of reading. 3rd ed. Oliver and Boyd Ltd., 1951. Smith, N i l a Banton. American reading instruction. International Reading Association, 1965.  Rev. ed.  London:  Newark, Delaware:  Spache, George D., & Spache, Evelyn B. Reading i n the elementary school. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1977. Thorndike, Edward L. The teacher's word book. New York: Columbia University, 1921.  4th ed.  Teachers College,  Topping, Marion. A comparative study of the readers-used i n Grades I through VI i n the schools of B r i t i s h Columbia from 1900-1967. Unpublished manuscript, The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1968.  APPENDIX A:  PERIODS OF PRESCRIPTION AND THE PRESCRIBED READERS  Secondary Sources An unpublished survey of the eight different reading series prescribed f o r use i n B r i t i s h 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 f i n d the o r i g i n a l 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 B r i t i s h 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  B r i t i s h 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 c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system used i n 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 F i r s t Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1871-72 (1872) i s :  Canadian F i r s t Reader - Part I.  Examination of bibliographic  and other data i n the readers i n the Special Collections Division of the University 43  44 of B r i t i s h Columbia, and references i n a history of Ontario prescribed texts (Parvin, 1965) indicated that this text was: Canadian Series of School Books: F i r s t Book of Reading Lessons. Part I. Toronto: James Campbell & Son, 1967. For  purposes of the study, this book was a r b i t r a r i l y designated the first-year  reader i n the 1872 period of authorization. 1884.  References to the change i n texts which occurred i n 1884 were found  i n Green's study (1938), but the Annual Report for 1883-84 was not available f o r examination.  However, the f i r s t reading text on the l i s t of authorized textbooks  i n the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Public Schools of the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1884-85 (1885) i s :  Gage's F i r s t Primer, Pt. I. There seems l i t t l e  question but that this text was: W. J . Gage & Co.'s Educational Series: W. J . Gage & Company, 1881. For  The F i r s t Primer. Toronto:  purposes of the study, this book was a r b i t r a r i l y 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; f o r 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 appropriate text for this period of prescription, namely: Hew Canadian Readers 20th Century Edition: The Educational Book Co., Limited, 1901.  F i r s t Primer. Toronto:  Following the rule f o r selection used i n the two previous time periods, and on the basis of information about assignment of the readers i n the Junior Division (Green, 1938), this text was designated the first-year reader i n the 1901 period of prescription. 1915.  Although The B r i t i s h Columbia Readers:  F i r s t Reader of 1915 was  45 available to the researcher, and although other sources pointed to a change i n readers i n this year, no reference to changes i n readers i n 1915 was found i n Green's study (1938); moreover, the Manuals of School Law were not available. However, extracts from Circulars of Instructions i n 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 F i r s t and Second Primers and F i r s t and Second Readers of the previous series.  The f i r s t two texts l i s t e d i n the  extract for 1915 appeared i n reverse order the following year, 1916 (the change i s stipulated, but not explained); thus the 1915 materials, using the 1916 order f o r the f i r s t two texts, were as follows: B. C. Beginner's Reader (replacing the former F i r s t Primer); B. C. Phonic Primer (replacing the former Second Primer); B. C. F i r s t Reader (replacing the former F i r s t Reader). . . . On the basis of this l i s t i n g , 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 B r i t i s h Columbia Readers: A Beginner's Reader. Gage & Co., Limited ( T i t l e page with date missing). 1923.  Toronto:  W. J .  In addition to information provided by Green (1938) regarding the  change-over i n reading texts which occurred i n 1923, further bibliographic v e r i f i c a tion was found i n the List of Authorized Text-Books for Public Schools published i n the Programme of Studies for the Elementary Schools of B r i t i s h 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 F i r s t Reader. The Macmillan.Company of Canada Limited, 1924. 1935.  Toronto:  The next change i n reading texts, which occurred i n 1935, was v e r i f i e d  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 B r i t i s h Columbia. Grades I to VI. Bulletin I (Province of B. C ,  1936).  Highroads to Reading: Ryerson Press, 1934. 1948.  Specifically, the Grade I texts were:  Jerry and Jane (Primer); Book One.  Toronto:  Since original sources documenting the change i n 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: F i r s t 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: F i r s t 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 B r i t i s h 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 i n 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 l i s t e d i n Prescribed Textbooks 1976-77 Grades K-XII (Province of B. C ,  1976).  

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