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Published: June 27, 2011

Arthur I. Gates (1890–1972)

American educational psychologist who pioneered techniques for teaching reading and language skills to young children and developed a variety of tests to measure reading skills. Born in Minnesota and educated in California, he was the author of more than 300 books and articles on education and psychology. He was a member of the Columbia University Teachers College faculty in New York from 1917 to 1956, served as director of the Institute for Educational Research at Columbia (1921–30) and headed the department of educational research in Columbia’s Advanced School of Education (1933–37).
In 1928, Gates developed the “Intrinsic Method” for teaching reading, a method that translated theoretical findings on how children learn to read into practical classroom teaching techniques. The Intrinsic Method defined the basic skills needed for reading, identified problem areas and provided systematic, graded teaching materials that allowed teachers to lead students step-by-step through the learning process.
Gates also developed a variety of diagnostic tests, including the widely used Gates-Mac- Ginitie Reading Tests and the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Readiness Test. The former measures vocabulary, comprehension, speed and accuracy for students in grades 1–12. The Reading Readiness Test is designed for students about to begin reading and measures listening comprehension, auditory and visual discrimination, ability to follow directions, letter recognition, visual-motor coordination and word recognition.