Understanding Reading revolutionized reading research and theory when the first edition appeared in 1971 and continues to be a leader in the field. In the sixth edition of this classic text, Smith's purpose remains the same: to shed light on fundamental aspects of the complex human act of reading--linguistic, physiological, psychological, and social--and on what is involved in learning to read. The text critically examines current theories, instructional practices, and controversies, covering a wide range of disciplines but always remaining accessible to students and classroom teachers. Careful attention is given to the ideological clash that continues between whole language and direct instruction and currently permeates every aspect of theory and research into reading and reading instruction. To aid readers in making up their own minds, each chapter concludes with a brief statement of "Issues." Understanding Reading: A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Reading and Learning to Read, Sixth Edition is designed to serve as a handbook for language arts teachers, a college text for basic courses on the psychology of reading, a guide to relevant research on reading, and an introduction to reading as an aspect of thinking and learning. It is matchless in integrating a wide range of topics relative to reading while, at the same time, being highly readable and user-friendly for instructors, students, and practitioners.