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Recent debate has focused on two contrasting approaches to literacy instruction, a decoding versus a meaning centered paradigm (Adams, 1990). These curricular models differ in how reading instruction is conducted, because they differ in their underlying assumptions about how learning occurs, what language is, and what constitutes the reading act itself (Shuy, 1984). Presently, researchers cannot answer the question as to which, if either, method of instruction better answers the needs of children, without first specifying more fully the distinctive features of each focus and identifying the contextual aspects of each type of instruction that significantly influences the achievement of various groups of children. A need exists for practice-to-theory research, because the use of outcomes as the only measurement appears to be inadequate (Harste, 1988)

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