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Since the advent of the McGuffy Readers, published between 1836 and 1844, basal reading series have increased in popularity, becoming the predominant approach to reading instruction. Chall (1967), Aukerman (1981), along with other educators, reported that 80 to 95% of classroom teachers used one or more basal series for reading inst ruction. A recent nationwide study by Smith/Saltz (1985) showed an increasing number of teachers, 95.4%, were using one or more basal series in their classrooms.

As a follow-up to the 1985 study, the authors asked classroom teachers who participated in the original survey to answer four brief background questions and then respond to an open-ended statement concerning appropriate comments regarding their use of basal readers, grouping, supplementary materials, and related items. Open-ended statements were requested since surveys which require forced-choice answers frequently restrict respondents who may feel that the items which are presented do not accurately reflect a total situation. Oftentimes, the respondents feel a need to modify or qualify the answers which are listed, or because statements may not pertain to a specific situation, the item is not answered. In order to avoid this, the authors required a minimal amount of background to be furnished by teachers and chose to provide an opportunity for the teachers to comment on their particular beliefs and/or attitudes. One hundred and thirteen teachers from forty-seven states provided background information and general comments.

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