The achievement ideology of Reading Wonders: a critical content analysis of success and failure in a core reading programme

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Abstract

In the early 1960s, researchers began to conduct content analyses of core reading programmes/basal readers. Although these researchers often adopted a critical perspective, and examined the ideological underpinnings of the texts, they failed to make an explicit connection between ideologies and reader access to the text. The study described here is a critical content analysis of texts contained within the core reading programme Reading Wonders. It addresses these research questions: What vision of success and failure is exemplified by selections in the fourth-grade Reading Wonders textbook?—and—To what extent are selections in this programme accessible to readers? Mobilizing MacLeod’s notion of achievement ideology, the study explores the contrast between the programme’s emphasis on individual success and the inaccessibility of the selections included in it. The analysis demonstrates that the achievement ideology is the foundation for most of the selections. It also shows that the complexity and unengaging quality of the basal reader interferes with the reader’s ability to access the included texts. I argue the Reading Wonders textbook serves to convince readers that personal and professional success is the norm in contemporary society, while failing to allow them to construct more than a surface-level meaning of the included selections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-140
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

Keywords

  • Critical content analysis
  • critical literacy
  • curriculum research
  • reading engagement
  • reading programmes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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