In 1972, the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory received funding from the National Institute of Education for the development of a community-based reading and language arts program especially for Indian children. Twelve Northwest Indian reservations actively participated in the program from its beginning. For the next 11 years, the NWREL Indian Reading & Language Development Program produced 140 culturally relevant stories written by local Indian authors and illustrated by Indian artists.
The result of this work was a unique supplementary reading and language development program for Indian and non-Indian children. The materials were authenticated by the participating tribes and field tested with over 1200 Indian and non-Indian children in 93 classrooms throughout the Northwest.
The teacher's manual reflects the thinking of more than 80 teachers who were involved in the trial stages of the materials and who provided invaluable ideas which were incorporated into the manual. The manual was written to provide suggestions for teachers using The Indian Reading Series, to enable students to receive maximum benefits from the materials.
It is important to note that these materials were not designed to be a reading program. They are supplemental to the formal reading programs adopted by schools. Nor are the materials intended to be used to teach Indian "culture," even though they come from and are based in that culture.
A Policy Board representing the participating Indian communities directed program activities and assured meaningful community input and control of content authenticity. More than 250 reservation-based planners, writers and artists participated in needs identification and materials development.
We have posted these readers as a historical record. Booklets and other materials may be downloaded and used free of charge for educational purposes.
Note: Indian Reading Series electronic files are copies of the original print publications; those print publications are no longer available, despite text in the booklets that indicate contact information for such. This website with the Indian Reading Series files is the only current source for the booklets and their related materials.