Authors of the Original DARTTS® Program

Jeanne S. Chall was one of the authors of the original DAR (1992) and of the original print version of the Trial Teaching Strategies (1992). She was professor emerita, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. Chall was a leader in reading research and in teacher education and clinical practice. She founded and directed the Harvard Reading Laboratory for more than twenty years. She was the author of many books and articles on reading, including Stages of Reading Development,1 which described and provided research-based evidence for the developmental theory of reading acquisition on which the DAR and the TTS were based. An early pioneer in the field of readability, she was co-author with Edgar Dale of the Dale-Chall Readability Formula in 1958 and of Readability Revisited2 and Qualitative Assessment of Text Difficulty.3 Other notable major works included The Reading Crisis: Why Poor Children Fall Behind,4 The Academic Achievement Challenge,5 Learning to Read: The Great Debate6 (a comparison of the research on beginning reading methodologies), and Should Textbooks Challenge Students? The Case for Easier or Harder Books.7 Chall was regularly called upon to advise various governmental and educational groups and school systems regarding issues related to reading and reading instruction. She was also the original consultant on reading to the Children’s Television Workshop for Sesame Street and on other public television children’s programs related to reading. She was a member of the “Reading Hall of Fame” of the International Reading Association and endowed a reading research trust fund within the IRA which awards a scholarship now given in her name. She received lifetime awards for her work from the National Society for the Study of Education, the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Dyslexia Association, and the National Reading Conference.

Florence G. Roswell was one of the authors of the original DAR (1992) and of the original print version of the Trial Teaching Strategies (1992). She was professor emerita at City College, City University of New York, where she was the director of the City College Reading Center. While at City College, Roswell engaged in teacher education and served in a consultant capacity to schools regarding their reading programs. She was the coauthor with Gladys Nachez of four editions of Reading Disability: A Human Approach to Evaluation and Treatment of Reading and Writing Difficulties.8 She worked with her former student Jeanne Chall to devise many instructional materials to guide teachers in the teaching of reading, among which were the “Roswell-Chall Auditory Blending Test,” republished in the 1990’s, and Teaching Children to Read, a Step-by-Step Guide for Volunteer Tutors.9 Conventional wisdom in the 1940’s, when Roswell began work at City College, was that a child’s difficulties in reading were rooted in emotional problems and that not much could be done by the teacher until those problems were addressed. Roswell’s experience in testing and teaching led to a different and more positive conclusion which helped to bring about a recognition of dyslexia and other learning disabilities and the efficacy of the teaching of phonics and sight words for alleviating such difficulties with reading. Case studies of many of her students can be found in Creating Successful Readers,10 coauthored with Jeanne Chall.

Authors of the Second Edition of DAR (Forms A and B) and the Online Trial Teaching Strategies (TTS)

Mary E. Curtis is Professor of Education and founding director of the Center for Special Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She is the author of numerous articles on reading diagnosis and remediation, the role of vocabulary in comprehension, and the reading skills of at-risk teens. She is a member of the Adult Literacy Research Working Group and has provided technical assistance to the Division of Adult Education and Literacy, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, for its Student Achievement in Reading (STAR) Pilot Program. She directed the Boys Town Reading Center, where she oversaw research and development on Reading Is FAME®, a remedial reading curriculum shown to reverse reading failure in older adolescents. Curtis earned her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Learning Research and Development Center (Pittsburgh, PA), Associate Professor of Education at Harvard University, and Associate Director of the Harvard Reading Laboratory, where she worked with Chall.

Gail Kearns is a reading specialist and diagnostician who has taught at elementary and secondary levels in public schools in Massachusetts, Florida, and Tennessee. She was a student of the late Jeanne Chall and worked for her as a research assistant and on the first edition of the DARTTS and on other assessments. She founded a small diagnostic and remedial reading clinic and has been an instructor and practicum supervisor for Lesley University and a research assistant for the first grade observations of NICHD’s Early Child Care Study. She directed the first Massachusetts IRA Young Authors program, for which she received the Massachusetts Reading Association 1986 award for outstanding contribution, and, in 1996, the M.R.A. research award for a study on learning word meanings through classroom read-alouds. She is the author of articles on reading and holds a C.A.S. in Human Development and Reading from Harvard and a master’s in reading education from Lesley University. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts.


In memory of
Jeanne S. Chall
Florence G. Roswell


1Stages of Reading Development, Second Edition (1996). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace. (First published in 1983 by McGraw-Hill.)

2Readability Revisited and the New Dale-Chall Readability Formula (1995).Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. (with Edgar Dale.)

3Qualitative Assessment of Text Difficulty: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Writers (1996). Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. (with Glenda Bissex, Sue Conard, and Susan Harris-Sharples).

4The Reading Crisis: Why Poor Children Fall Behind (1990). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (with Vicki A. Jacobs and Luke E. Baldwin.)

5The Academic Achievement Challenge: What Really Works in the Classroom (2000). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

6Learning to Read: The Great Debate, Third Edition (1996). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace. (First published in 1967 and in 1983 by McGraw-Hill.)

7Should Textbooks Challenge Students? The Case for Easier or Harder Books (1991). New York: Teachers College Press.

8Florence G. Roswell and Gladys Natchez, Reading Disability: A Human Approach to Evaluation and Treatment of Reading and Writing Difficulties, 4th ed. (1989). New York: Basic Books.

9Teaching Children to Read: A Step by Step Guide for Volunteer Tutors (1998). Elizabethtown, PA: Continental Press. (with Florence Roswell, Mary Beth Fletcher and Deborah Richmond).

10Creating Successful Readers: A Practical Guide to Testing and Teaching at all Levels (1994). Roswell, Florence G., and Jeanne S. Chall. Chicago: Riverside Publishing Co. (Houghton Mifflin). Republished as Reading Difficulties: Effective Methods for Successful Teaching (1999). Elizabethtown, PA: Continental Press.