The publication and dissemination of “Fare for the Reluctant Reader” in 1951 marked a representative early collaboration between CASDA and the State College. The project emerged in recognition of the need to improve reading comprehension skills in secondary school students. Anita E. Dunn, Supervisor of English at the Milne School worked with librarians Mabel E. Jackman and Bernice C. Bush to compile and organize a list of texts and stories that would engage the “reluctant reader.” They compiled and annotated an extensive bibliography, organized by grade level and theme. The text was supplemented by chapters on reading instruction by Dr. J. Roy Newton, Director of the Reading Center at New York State College for Teachers.
CASDA shared the first edition of “Fare for the Reluctant” with reading teachers, librarians and administrators in member districts. The document generated such an enthusiastic response that CASDA’s Executive Committee commissioned a revised second edition. The librarians in CASDA’s member schools surveyed student responses to the listed texts and identified new material that children found particularly enjoyable. Each month, librarians submitted lists of stories that sparked student interest. These submissions were compiled and shared among the project’s participants on a bi-monthly basis for cross-referencing and review.
At the conclusion of the school year, the librarians met to compile and evaluate the final list of texts. The revised bibliography was published in 1952 and shared with school systems throughout the country. In the Foreword to the second edition, CASDA Executive Secretary Dr. Joseph Leese lauded “the thoughtful and faithful contribution of many people from a variety of school systems and communities” and stated that this collaboration demonstrated what could be achieved when “school personnel share their information and experiences in a coordinated way across system lines.”