A STATUS REPORT OF PRIVATE NEW JERSEY READING SERVICE CENTERS (EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT, PERSONNEL, RESEARCH METHODOLOGY)
WILF, MARCIA ROBBINS
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Very little systematic information concerning private reading agencies in New Jersey has been available. Detailed data have been unavailable pertaining to (a) types of services provided, (b) qualifications of individuals working in the centers, (c) the nature of instructional programs, (d) administrative policies, and (e) adequacy and safety of the physical plants of the reading centers. The purpose of this study was to determine whether private agencies were providing services in an efficient and professional manner.;An extensive questionnaire was mailed to New Jersey institutions which met the study's definition of a private reading service center and which agreed by telephone to participate in the study. The survey instrument was designed on the basis of a set of objectives which were developed from a review of the professional literature in reading and related fields.;Fifty-five percent of the 55 institutions to which questionnaires were sent returned them. A descriptive profile of a typical New Jersey reading service center was developed from a set of study conclusions.;Some conclusions were: (a) private reading services were offered in centers which were most often called learning centers, psycho-educational centers, and tutoring centers, (b) most centers served suburban communities, (c) most centers did not have stated philosophies, (d) many staff members did not appear to have appropriate credentials and/or training, (e) conventional diagnostic tests were underutilized, (f) many programs were totally individualized, (g) case studies were sometimes utilized, (h) guarantees regarding performance outcomes were rarely made, (i) research involving reading was rarely conducted, (j) most centers operated for profit, (k) most centers were not licensed, (l) there were few contractual relationships with local school districts, (m) most centers had library facilities, and (n) most establishments had no provisions for handicapped clients.;The preliminary nature of this study precluded drawing specific conclusions about the delivery of services by private centers in New Jersey. However, the results suggest that both reading professionals and legal authorities in the state need to consider methods for insuring that private reading centers are providing appropriate professional services in the most effective manner.