Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this research was: (1) to examine more fully the literature on individualized reading in order to gain a concrete understanding of the issues and problems involved; and (2) to learn some steps which are necessary for developing an individualized reading program in the classroom. Since the present emphasis on individualized reading has become nationally recognized in the last ten years, the study was limited chiefly to periodicals containing studies and writings of proponents of the individualized reading program. An individualized reading program is to be distinguished from a basal reading program in that no reliance is placed on a single or common set of systematically prepared graded readers for all to use. Instead, reliance is placed on providing the child with as broad and rich a variety of reading resources as it is possible to obtain and on guiding the child in selecting those materials and experiences most individually suited to his needs, interests, purposes, and abilities. It was of the opinion of many proponents of individualized reading that one of the biggest problems in introducing such a program is obtaining adequate reading material. The presence of large numbers of books and other reading material on many different reading levels is of primary importance. The major features of individualized reading are that children generally make their own selections and read at their own rate. Many advocates of the program reported that reading came more easily and more rapidly when the book was closely related to the purposes and interests of the child. Many studies have indicated that the attitude of the teacher toward the individualized reading program was of the utmost importance. The success of this program depends much upon pupil-teacher rapport. They must work together to discover weaknesses and then plan how to overcome them. Evidence revealed by many studies has shown that many teachers and educators were very enthusiastic over the program. Teachers have reported that they were putting into practice principles long professed as sound, such as power of self-motivation, meeting individual differences, and the human drive to follow individual interests and pursuits. Several studies reported show that students under the individualized reading program had made greater gains on standardized reading achievement tests than other comparable students under more familiar reading programs. The difference between the means was large enough to indicate the existence of a real, rather than a chance, difference. The consensus of many writers is that reading is an individual process and should be taught accordingly. Because children differ so widely in interests, capacity to learn, and motives, writers have indicated that it is impossible to provide adequate stimulation and guidance through the use of the same materials and through group instruction. Evidence provided by many studies has shown that most programs of individualized reading have been successful. However, because of the short period of time in which studies have been made and--in very few cases have these been controlled studies -- there is no conclusive evidence that individualized reading is far superior to the group or basal reading approach. There is need for further research to determine if individualized reading can be successful for most teachers and for all kinds of schools as well as for all types of children.


W. Clement Wood

Date of Award

Summer 1962

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1962 C. Eugene Wiltfong


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