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Ever since William McGuffey introduced his famous reading series, the basal reader has been relied upon as the prominent means of teaching children to read. As recently as 1980, between 80% and 90% of the nation's elementary teachers used basal readers as the primary instructional method (Koeller, 1981). During the past few years, the whole language approach has become popular and is threatening to unseat the basal from its longtime bastion in reading instruction.

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