Language At The Speed Of Sight Fights To Reopen Our Closed Book On Literacy
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A few weeks ago, while we were all looking the other way, the triennial survey comparing the worlds educational systems came out. For America, the news wasnt good. Math scores dropped, while reading numbers werent much different from last time. Neither finding puts us on course to lap Singapore anytime soon.
Predictably, of the limited media coverage the survey received in the United States, most articles focused on math and science. Who cares if Johnny cant read well, so long as he can multiply?
Too often, according to Mark Seidenbergs important, alarming new book, Language at the Speed of Sight, Johnny cant read because schools of education didnt give Johnnys teachers the proper tools to show him how. Economic inequality is a big problem, too, of course, but kindergartners may be grandparents before that can be redressed. Mr. Seidenberg, a veteran cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, makes a strong case for how brain science can help the teaching profession in the meantime.
Control for any variable, for income, for ZIP code, for anything you please, and proficient reading still makes all the difference in life. A country where only a third of kids can read well, however, is easily controlled.
How We Read Why So Many Cant And What Can Be Done About It
byRELEASE DATE: Jan. 3, 2017
Johnny cant readand too often his teachers can only guess why.
A Peabody Awardwinning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.
Language At The Speed Of Sighton Cueing Systems Phonemes Speed Reading And Sequences Of Learning
A few months ago, I read Mark Seidenbergs Language at the Speed of Sight. Seidenberg is a psychologist who studies reading, and his book is remarkably intelligent, frank, and witty. I think there is an occasional mistake or ambiguity here and there, but overall I was mesmerized.
Typically, I dont do reviews here and dont intend to today. Instead, I have pulled several incisive quotes from the text that captured my attention , and I have added comments of my own. I hope you and your colleagues will read these quotes and discuss them, and, perhaps, as a result, some of you might choose to read the whole book its well worth it.
As you can see from these quotes, Professor Seidenberg has a great deal of knowledge about reading and a sharp tongue, willing to write the truth, even if it is a truth that some may not like to hear.
If you are interested in this book, it is on the recommended book list on my site.
The 3-cueing theory is the product of teachers with little knowledge of the science working with large numbers of like-minded people, under the influence of a few authorities, constructing accounts of how reading works and children gain literacy. This process yielded an amorphous theory that was compatible with existing beliefs within the teachers comfort zone.
The exact number of words per minute is far less important than the fact that this value cannot be greatly increased without seriously compromising comprehension.
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Book Review: Language At The Speed Of Sight
Until recently, my favorite book on reading research was Why Our Children Cant Read and What We Can Do About It by Diane McGuinness, Ph.D. The book was published in 1999, and it literally changed the way I thought about reading instruction. It was groundbreaking at a time when the science of reading was in its infancy. At the time, whole language philosophy reigned, where reading was believed to be best taught by exposing children to books and asking higher level questions to encourage children to be strategic readers. Poor readers were given the same strategies and were cued to fix their errors by using contextual meaning. After reading McGuinnesss research, I knew that I needed to educate myself about how to teach reading differently.
This book is chock full of information for the person hungry for accurate and well-supported research. This is not an easy or quick read Language At The Speed Of Sight is a densely-packed, scientifically-researched account of reading philosophies through the decades and how it has become much more difficult to refute the evidence supporting the use of a solid, structured phonics method for all students that can reliably help many children who struggle to read.
Here are some quotes from this incredible book:
Reading improvement schemes that focus on the eyes are misguidedvision therapy is ineffective because erratic eye movements are a manifestation of an underlying reading problem.
Publishers Weeklynov 28 2016
Cognitive neuroscientist Seidenberg digs deep into the science of reading to reveal the ways human beings learn how to read and process language. After describing how humans adapted to form writing, speech, and languages, Seidenberg explores current research into dyslexia and other literacy problems, especially as they pertain to the challenges facing the American education system. Progress in reading is inexorably tied to achievement gaps and differences in socioeconomic status, but Seidenberg circles back to the biological connections among spoken language, dyslexia, and general reading ability. Poverty alone cannot account for the U.S.’s “mediocre showing” in multinational assessments, he says. His major criticism of national reading progress lies in the “culture of education” or the way teachers are trained to approach teaching. Seidenberg turns against the trend of natural “discovery” learning, where he says nothing is really taught, and argues that direct instruction by tested methods is the best way to ensure students consistently learn to read. Seidenberg’s analysis is backed up by numerous studies and tables of data. His approach is pragmatic, myth-destroying, and rooted in science and his writing makes for powerful reading.
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The Decline The Deception The Dogmas
by Thomas SowellRELEASE DATE: Jan. 4, 1993
American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell’s quarrel with “values clarification” programs isn’t that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs . The evidence offered for these propositions isn’t likely to change many minds, since it’s so inveterately anecdotal and injudiciously applied . All in all, the details of Sowell’s indictmentthat not only can’t Johnny think, but “Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is”are more entertaining than persuasive or new.