Thesis

A critical analysis of Piaget's cognitive development theory as it relates to the beginning reading process

The purpose of this study is to gain an insight into the implications of Piaget's theory of cognitive development for instructional methodology, materials and technology in the beginning reading process. Knowledge of Piaget’s theory should make the teacher of reading more skillful in matching a child’s level of thinking with appropriate instructional methodology, materials and technology for reading competency. Instructional methodology refers to the basic theory underlying a reading program. Instructional materials are the basic materials appropriate for the chosen method and from which the reading experiences evolve. Instructional technology includes all support materials and activities that enhance the basic reading program. In reviewing theories of cognitive development and reading emphasis is given to the relationship between Piaget's theory and the beginning reading process. Cognitive theories of development explain growth as the structural reorganization resulting from the child's interaction with his environment. Structural reorganization occurs when a state of equilibrium is reached to balance the behavioral structures of the child and structure of the environment. Piaget stresses the adaptive processes of assimilation and accommodation and the sequential stages of growth. Reading is defined as the process whereby the reader gets meaning from written or printed material. There are many different approaches to reading which vary according to techniques of instruction, selection of materials and organization of skills. Reading definitions and theories are discussed. Reading with comprehension appears to be correlated with the attainment of Piaget’s concrete operational stage of development.. A reading program may be more effective if a child's level of cognitive development is identified and .instructional methodology, materials and technology reflect a child's level of growth. Also presented are conclusions and recommendations based on the findings of this study.

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