Kenneth Goodman is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona. His work as a practical theorist, researcher and teacher educator has changed our understanding of literacy processes, how they are learned and how best to teach them. His sociotransactional theory of the reading process is the most widely cited in the world. This research based theory demonstrates that reading is a unitary process in which readers actively construct meaning. It is a practical theory because teachers who come to understand this view of reading and the related view of writing can understand what it is that learners are doing as they develop literacy.
Recently, a teacher told me that her colleagues believe a mandated early reading test I critiqued is necessary because “the parents of these kids don’t get them ready to learn to read in school.”
Too often we expect urban youngsters to be low achievers. My years of research have convinced me that “these kids” are just as capable of learning to read and write as all the others. But if we make the old mistake of confusing difference with deficiency, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.