Discovering the alphabetic principle: A lost opportunity for educational reform

Brian K. Martens, Edward J. Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We review the recently published report by the Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children from a behavior analytic perspective. The authors prescribe what children should learn to be successful readers based on the correlates of reading and the developmental progression of reading errors. The report offers no discussion of theoretical models that can be used by teachers and parents to reform reading instruction or specific procedures that have been shown to be effective at promoting various reading skills. We discuss these omissions in terms of the level of research included in the review, the authors' structural approach to synthesizing this research, and the constructivist orientation common to many early childhood educators. The paper concludes by identifying models and strategies from the behavior analysis literature that can be used to guide instruction and offers a modest suggestion for future reviews of reading research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Behavior analysis
  • Direct Instruction
  • Early childhood education
  • Reading
  • Scientific method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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