The Graduate School of Education’s literacy laboratory will be renamed the Jeanne S. Chall Reading Laboratory in honor of its founder and a leading expert in reading research and instruction for more than 50 years, announced School of Education Dean Jerome T. Murphy yesterday (April 12). Chall, a psychologist and a professor at the School from 1966 until her retirement in 1991, died in November 1999. She was best-known for her passionate advocacy of combining phonics instruction with exposure to challenging literature as the best method of teaching young children to read.
“We are honoring a scholar who devoted her life to helping children learn one of the most precious life skills,” said Murphy. “Jeanne worked tirelessly to ensure that children directly benefited from the research evidence about reading.”
The Reading Laboratory, established by Chall in 1966, trains teachers and reading specialists, and collects data for research efforts while providing services to neighboring communities. Graduate students are matched with children and adolescents from local schools who have been referred to the Laboratory. Once accepted into the program, students are encouraged to continue for as long as necessary, typically two to four semesters. There is no fee.
“The Reading Lab embodies the values that Jeanne Chall held dear,” said Professor of Education Connie Juel, who directs the Laboratory. “This is the place where research findings are put to work helping children develop pleasure and proficiency in reading and writing.”
Harvard will hold a memorial service for Chall today, Thursday, April 13, at 2:00 p.m. in the Memorial Church.