Dr. LaBerge & Dr. Samuels

Literacy Scholars

Reading Approach

Dr. LaBerge and Dr. Samuels are proponents of the bottom-up theory of reading instruction. Dr. LaBerge and Dr. Samuels proposed that there are three processes involved in reading:

  • Decoding which is merely the ability to pronounce words encountered in text.

  • Comprehension is the process in which the reader constructs meaning from the words encountered in text.

  • Attention is required for the reader to decode accurately and simultaneously construct meaning from the text.

Learning to read requires a lot of processing and attention, skills beginning readers may lack. Instead, beginning readers divide reading tasks into smaller parts and they complete one task before they start another. First, they decode by sounding out words. Then, they switch their attention to comprehension. This process is slow and difficult. When readers become fluent, decoding is fast, easy, and automatic, allowing the reader to really focus on comprehension.

Dr. David LaBerge

Big image

Biographical Information

David LaBerge was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1929. He completed his undergraduate degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. His Master of Science degree was obtained from Claremont University, in Claremont, California, and is PhD degree was from Stanford University in California. Dr. LaBerge is a neuropsychologist. He specializes in “the attention process and the role of apical dendrites in cognition and consciousness” (Wikipedia, 2015). From 1955-1997 Dr. LaBerge taught at Indiana University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of California at Irvine. Dr. LaBerge has had a long and distinguished research career. In 1959 he began researching mathematical models of choice behavior including a model for neutral elements and a recruitment model for choice behavior. From 1964-1970, he conducted experiments of attention in response to time. He studied a theory of automaticity in reading and a theory of automaticity in perception with Dr. Samuels from 1974-1975. Dr. LaBerge served as Music Director and Conductor of the Minnesota Bach Society Orchestra and chorus for 21 years. Currently, he is the director of the 50-voice South Sound Classical Choir in Tacoma, Washington. Dr. LaBerge is married and resides in Tacoma, Washington.

Notable Awards and Associations

  • Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
  • University of Minnesota Students Association Distinguished Service Award
  • Society of Experimental Psychologists
  • Fellow AAAS
  • Fellow American Psychological Association
  • Fellow, American Psychological Society
  • Member Society for Neuroscience.

Dr. S. Jay Samuels

Big image

Biographical Information

Dr. Samuels graduated in 1953 from Queens College in New York City. He earned a degree in elementary education and taught in New York and California until about 1965. He taught every grade, except first grade. He also taught gifted students. In 1965, he became an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He taught classes on the psychology of teaching. He also conducted research on the process of reading. It looks like Dr. Samuels received his Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D) from the University of California at Los Angeles. He still works for the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He is an Emeritus Professor in the Educational Psychology department.

Notable Awards

  • In 1985, Dr. Samuels received the National Reading Council's Research Award
  • In 1986, Dr. Samuels received the College of Education Distinguished Teaching Award
  • In 1987, Dr. Samuels received the International Reading Association's Award for research on the reading process
  • International Reading Association William S. Gray Research Award
  • National Reading Conference Oscar Causey Research Award

Books and Articles

Dr. LaBerge and Dr. Samuels

  • Laberge, D., & Samuels, S. (1974). Toward a theory of automatic information processing in reading. Cognitive Psychology, 6, 293-323.

Dr. LaBerge

  • Estes, W.K. & Burke, C. J. A theory of stimulus variability in learning. Psychological Review, 1953, 60, 276-286.
  • LaBerge, D. (1959a). Effect of preliminary trials on rate of conditioning in a simple prediction situation. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57, 20-24.
  • LaBerge, D. (1959b). A model with neutral elements. In R.R. Bush & W.K. Estes (Eds.), Studies in Mathematical Learning Theory. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp 53–93.
  • LaBerge, D. (1962). A recruitment theory of simple behavior. Psychometrika, 27, 375-396.
  • LaBerge, D. and Tweedy, J.R. (1964). Presentation probability and choice time. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68, 477-481.
  • LaBerge, D. Tweedy, J.R., & Ricker, J. (1967). Selective attention: Incentive variables and choice time. Psychonomic Science, 8, 341-342.
  • LaBerge, D., Van Gelder, P., & Yellott, J. (1970) A cueing technique in choice reaction time. Perception and Psychophysics, 7, 57-62.
  • LaBerge, D. (1973a) Attention and the measurement of perceptual learning. Memory and Cognition, 1, 268-276.
  • LaBerge, D. and Samuels, S.J. (1974) Toward a theory of automatic information processing in reading. Cognitive Psychology, 6, 293-323.
  • LaBerge, D. (1975). Acquisition of automatic processing of perceptual learning. In P. M. A. Rabbitt & S. Dornic (Eds.), Attention & Performance V, New York: Academic Press, pp 50–64.
  • LaBerge, D. (1973b) Identification of the time to switch attention: A test of a serial and a parallel model of attention. In S. Kornblum (Ed.), Attention & Performance IV, New York: Academic Press, pp 71–85.
  • LaBerge, D. (1983). The spatial extent of attention to letters and words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 9, 37 -379.
  • LaBerge, D. & Brown, V. (1989) Theory of attentional operations in shape identification. Psychological Review, 96,101-124.
  • LaBerge, D & Buchsbaum, M.S. (1990). Positron emission tomographic measurements of pulvinar activity during an attention task. Journal of Neuroscience, 10, 613-619.
  • LaBerge, D., Carter, M., and Brown, V. (1992). A network simulation of thalamic circuit operations in selective attention. Neural Computation, 4, 318-331.
  • LaBerge, D. (1994) Quantitative models of attention and response processes in shape identification tasks. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 38, 198-243.
  • LaBerge, D. (1995). Attentional Processing: The Brain’s Art of Mindfulness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • LaBerge, D. (1997). Attention, awareness, and the triangular circuit. Consciousness & Cognition, 6,140-181.
  • LaBerge, D., Carlson, R.L., Williams, J.K., & Bunney, B. (1997). Shifting Attention in space: Tests of moving spotlight models vs an activity-distribution model. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 23, 1380-1392.
  • LaBerge, D., Auclair, L., and Sieroff, E. (2000). Preparatory attention: experiment and theory. Consciousness & Cognition, 9, 396-434.
  • Sieroff, E., Piquard, A., Auclair,L., Lacomblez, L., Derouesne, C., and LaBerge, D. (2004). Deficit of preparatory attention in frontal- temporal dementia. Brain & Cognition, 55, 444-451.
  • Auclair, L., Jambaque, I., Dulac, O., and LaBerge, D. (2005). Deficit of preparatory attention in children with frontal lobe epilepsy. Neuropsychologia, 43, 1701-1712.
  • LaBerge, D. (2001). Attention, consciousness, and electrical wave activity within the cortical column. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 43, 5-24.
  • LaBerge, D. (2002). Attentional control: brief and prolonged. Psychological Research, 66, 220-233.
  • LaBerge, D. (2005). Sustained attention and apical dendrite activity in recurrent circuits. Brain Research Reviews, 50, 86-99.
  • LaBerge, D. (2006). Apical dendrite activity in cognition and consciousness. Consciousness & Cognition, 15, 235-257.
  • LaBerge, A., (2006). Resonant Dendrites: A science and art lecture/performance for soloist, video, and Max/MSP. Close Encounters, the 4th European conference of the Society for Science, Literature, and the Arts. Amsterdam.
  • LaBerge, A., and LaBerge, D. (2007). Resonant Dendrites. Lecture/performance at the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts. University of Minnesota School of Music.
  • LaBerge, D. and Kasevich, R.S. (2007). The apical dendrite theory of consciousness, Neural Networks, 20,1004-1020.
  • LaBerge, A. (2009). Resonant Dendrites: Music for flute and computer. Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University of California, Irvine.
  • Kasevich, R.S., and LaBerge, D. (2010). Theory of electric resonance in the neocortical apical dendrite. PLoS ONE, 6(8): e23412.
  • LaBerge, D. and Kasevich, R. (2013). The cognitive significance of the resonating neurons in the cerebral cortex. Consciousness and Cognition, 22, 1523-1550.

Dr. Samuels

  • Samuels, S. J. (2002). Reading Fluency: Its Development and Assessment International Reading Association, 166-183
  • Linderholm, T., Gaddy, M., van den Broek, P., Mischinski, M., Crittenden, A., and Samuels, S.J. (In Press). Effects of causal text revisions on more and less skilled reader's comprehension of easy and difficult texts. Cognition and Instruction.The National Reading Panel report, section on Fluency, 2001.
  • Samuels, S. J., & Flor, R. (1997). "The importance of automaticity for developing expertise in reading." Reading and Writing Quarterly, 13(2), 107-122.
  • Samuels, S. J. (1997). "The method of repeated readings." The Reading Teacher (A Reading Teacher Classic), 50(5), 376-382.
  • Samuels, S. J. (1995/96). Keynote address: An unusual analysis of highly effective teachers: What makes them great? Journal of the College Reading and Learning Association, 26(2), 7-14.
  • Samuels, S. J. (1985). Automaticity and repeated reading. In Reading education: Foundations for a literate America, eds. J. Osborn, P.T. Wilson, and R.C. Anderson. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

What Can We Learn from Dr. LaBerge and Dr. Samuels?

Dr. LaBerge and Dr. Samuels’ research into how the mind works during reading revealed that learning to read fluently requires coordination of many elements, including word recognition, accessing word meaning, deciding on the correct meaning of a word, grouping words into grammatical parts, making inferences, and using background knowledge to construct meaning. Beginning readers often lack the processing skills and attention necessary to coordinate all of these components simultaneously so they break the components into smaller parts. They start by directing their attention to sounding out words based on their knowledge of letters and sounds and sight words. When they become successful at reading the words, they shift their focus to comprehension. Although this process is often slow and difficult, beginning readers continue going back and forth between decoding, word reading, and comprehending until they achieve fluency. For a fluent reader, the reading process becomes more automatic. Fluent readers decode effortlessly and recall sight words instantly, allowing them to put much more focus on comprehension. Mr. Samuels identified three techniques for helping students become fluent readers: motivation, proper instruction, and practice (Samuels, 2002).


Dr. LaBerge and Dr. Samuels

Dr. LaBerge and Dr. Samuels developed:

  • the model of information processing in reading (1974, 1976);
  • a theory of automaticity in reading in 1974; and,
  • a theory of automaticity in perception in 1975.

Dr. LaBerge

Dr. LaBerge conducted and/or developed:

  • early experiments of attention in response to time (1967);
  • studies in automaticity;
  • research in measurement of automatic processing (1973);
  • Awareness by the Triangular Circuit of Attention. Awareness occurs when “an experience” becomes “my experience”;
  • a cortex-wide circuit theory of attention (1995, 1997);
  • an apical dendrite theory of cognition, attention, and consciousness;

Dr. Samuels

  • Developed materials and methods for improving word recognition, fluency, and comprehension, specifically including the method of repeated reading as a means of achieving fluency.
  • In 1997, Dr. Samuels served as a member of The National Reading Panel (“NRP”) that was convened at the request of Congress. The task of the NRP was to determine the best scientifically-based practices for reading instruction
  • Member of the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development National Reading Panel
  • Consultant - school districts, state departments of education, and publishers on how to improve and measure reading fluency


Cooter, D. R. (2005 edition). The Essentials of Teaching Children to Read. Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education, Inc.

David LaBerge. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_LaBerge

Samuels, S. J. (2002). Reading Fluency: Its Development and Assessment. International Reading Association, 166-183.

Wikipedia, C. (2015, April 27). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from David LaBerge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_LaBerge