7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2012
On Page 2 of the introduction, Dr. Farrall says she intends Reading Assessment Linking Language, Lieracy, and Cognition to be a graduate level text for a course in reading assessment or reading assessment. Reading the book makes me want to take her course.
I have been teaching reading for 25 years (out of my 35-year working life so far) -- and this is probably the best book I have seen on reading. Unlike many college texts, this one clearly defines terms that would have been learned in a prerequisite course before she uses them. It reviews the history of development of whatever Dr. Farrall wants to discuss, placing things in a life-context. Dr. Farrall even dares to include humorous comments, rare in college books I have used. The end result is a useful book that is enjoyable to read.
While this book would be an excellent foundation for a course, it is also a good reference for educators because of its excellent indexing and its extensive list of additional references.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2012
Melissa Lee Farrell has written a comprehensive book on reading assessment which even includes many great research-based ideas, suggestions, and strategies as well as, some commen sense advice like, "Never proof when you are tired." Nice to see common sense included in an academically oriented text.
PROS - The book is organized from introduction and reading theory and stages to areas that include linguistic and cultural diversity - those in charge of standardized tests would do well to note the section that indicates that academic proficiency in a second language may take 4-7 years - not the one year given currently for ESL test takers and their hard-working teachers. The book also includes statistics and test development, the role of intellectual assessment, underlying processes, etc. As you read, the book hits many of the current topics in reading assessment today, including responses to intervention and mastery and automaticity. Anyone involved in teaching reading and assessing reading will find guidance in this book that will help deepen their knowledge and help shape their instructional approach.
Cons - So why not five stars? It is a five-star text but it is dense and as said, comprehensive (like a college text for a course on reading) and most teachers have such limited time as it is, that makes getting to all the reading of this text and everything else they must do, that much harder.
It would be great if administrators purchased this book for their staff and used it for professional development sessions or if reading coaches could introduce the sections related to specific staff needs so that it gets utilized and/or implemented that much sooner. That's not to say that individual teachers shouldn't have their own copy, just that individual teachers would benefit from institutional support of this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Overall, I think is a nice comprehensive book. I like the author's integrated approach that explores the complex components of reading and tries to tie them together. The instructions to the people administering the tests she described are important and well thought out. I understand the criticism that other reviewers gave about the old resources, but I found it well researched; I think the issue lies in the fact that the tests that schools use are quite old so she cites the research related to that, but I also felts she included plenty of more recent research and literature in her resources section.
Overall, a good comprehensive book that is useful for someone who is working and doing reading assessment and coaching with children.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This text, intended to be a graduate text in either a reading assessment or general assessment course, is extremely well written and should not be limited to the university setting. The author is able to combine a wealth of information in a manner that can keep the reader involved. One of the ways in which this is accomplished is through her sense of humor. It is apparent that Dr. Farrall is outstanding in the classroom. Another way in which she engages the reader is through her method of presenting references. Often she cites the reference and shares information with interesting about the person to whom she is referring.
The book starts with the shocking data regarding the literacy in the U.S. and the importance of language in the maintaining of a culture. The intertwining of language, culture and cognition is excellent. Theories of language acquisition/development are reviewed early in the text.The introduction (chapter 1) lays the foundation and describes the future chapters.
Later chapters address issues of cultural diversity, test development, test administration and report writing, the relationship between IQ and academic achievement, disorders related to reading, reading comprehension, spelling as well as written expression.
Each chapter has a conclusion as well as review questions (the answer key is located in Appendix A).The figures and tables are helpful in that they summarize the information in a concise fashion. The template for report writing in chapter 6 is useful for both the novice and experienced. Rounding out this text is a glossary, what seems an exhaustive list of references and, for some, additional references to which one may consult.
An excellent book in an area which needs this direction! Recommended for a wide variety of professionals.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Melissa Lee Farrall's READING ASSESSMENT may be intended as a textbook for use in undergraduate and graduate courses, but it deserves a spot in schools, too, where teachers can use it as a resource. While few may read the book cover-to-cover, many can benefit from dipping in to specific parts by using the Table of Contents, the Glossary, the Subject Index, and the Author Index. Readers will find that Farrall's writing is concise, especially given the complex material at hand. The book sums up key points of the history of literacy, its researchers and tests, its controversies and remaining unresolved elements. For a taste of the wide net cast, some chapter titles:
"Reading Theory and Stages of Reading Acquisition," "Oral Language," "Linguistic and Cultural Diversity," "Statistics and Test Development," "Test Administration and Report Writing," "Response to Intervention," "Role of Intellectual Assessment," "Oral Language Assessment," "Decoding," "Comprehension," "Informal Inventories and Readability," and "Written Expression and Spelling."
Happily, the book chooses to emphasize professional evaluations reports that focus on student strengths and not just weaknesses. And obviously, there is something for everyone involved in literacy here -- English teachers, reading teachers, and special education staff alike. A teacher running writing workshop might benefit from reading the "Written Expression and Spelling" chapter, for instance, and elementary educators might focus on the "Decoding" chapter while their secondary colleagues gravitate more toward issues in "Comprehension." Each chapter ends with a short conclusion along with review questions (appendix includes answers to same).
To better understand the background of literacy studies as well as the possible shortcomings and strengths of present-day reading assessments, this book makes a fine addition to the professional resource room of any school.
This highly focused book is well written and provides a comprehensive overview of reading assessment, a continuing problem for many children. The content of the book is intended for use in a university course, but in my overview of the book, I found that the content was written so many of the chapters could be processed independently.
My rating for this book is based on my own review of the book as an interested neophite, but also includes the assessment of a highly experienced university professor in education. In my own review of the book, I found the material approachable but with the more specialized material, my background was clearly lacking and really required some fairly intense work to absorb the subtleties of the book. My coreviewer of this book indicated that the book was well written and comprehensive with the material very approachable for her graduate students. She did point out that in some cases the book made some fairly ridiculous statements that were apparently added for dramatic effect, but in the end probably took away from the professional polish that the author had placed in general throughout the book. It was her opinion that these remarks should have been removed from the book by the editors and really allowed the academic community to focus on development instead of personal opinion.
Overall, this book provided a framework that is often necessary in topics like these where with internet searches, you could spend days trying to piece everything together. If you need a foundational book on reading assessment, this one is worth evaluating.
on August 18, 2012
First, I think we would be well-served to set aside the puffery that the publisher uses to sell this text: "A groundbreaking integrated approach to reading assessment" that works with each kid's "Learning Profile." I was in graduate school over fifteen years ago and, while I applaud an integrated approach to assessment and to the actual pedagogy of reading, I know that this author did not come up with this idea out of whole cloth in 2012.
This is a graduate school text that proceeds in an organized fashion with study questions at the end of each chapter. Research is used as a basis for the instruction here with many case studies referenced.
I found the prose adequate but needlessly confusing in spots.
The book is particularly strong when it addresses the diagnostic tools that can he used to determine reading problems and advocates for school-wide (across-the-curriculum) reading programs. It also does a succinct -- and even elegant -- job of setting out the underlying research that forms the pedagogical whole. The concept and procedures used when learning interventions are needed is also a strength of this author.
on September 6, 2012
In Reading Assessment, Melissa Farrall guides us through theories of reading development, oral language development, testing, and the interrelationship of cognitive, speech and language, and reading abilities--and she does it gracefully, in plain language and with humor. It takes time to read this book, but reading specialists, special educators, and people who strive to understand a child's unique literacy skills and learning needs, will be grateful for all they learn from Dr. Farrall's book. I regretted reaching the end because it is so good, so informative, so helpful, and so readable. Why aren't all textbooks like this?
This book, as is typical of most academic works, is a dense read. But the author does a good job of scaffolding the concepts she discusses, as well as providing exercises that can help the reader engage the concepts comprehensively. At the same time its clear text is really for teachers and its engagement of literacy is framed within the hermeneutic of education. Because this book is dense I recommend that teachers have some kind of support offered by administrators in order to effectively capitalize on using it.
on June 6, 2013
This is a very engaging book about the very complex process of assessing reading skills. Chapter one starts at the very beginning, with the early learning theorists, and moves into very applicable information. This is a must read for all elementary teachers, reading specialists, special educators, school psychologists and school administrators.