Skip to comments.Massive K-12 Reading Failure Explained
Posted on 06/25/2016 5:55:35 AM PDT by Kaslin
Herewith, a simple way to understand the destructive failure of most reading instruction in the United States.
Consider our eyes. Their purpose is to grasp quickly what objects are: food or predator, useful or irrelevant? This is often a matter of life and death. How do eyes do their job?
Eyes twitch, jerk, and flick rapidly from detail to detail in order to identify an object. There are no built-in sequences, no shortcuts. The eyes must twitch perhaps dozens of times until a positive identification is made. The technical term for these twitches is a saccade (which rhymes with façade).
Many such eye movements occur every time you see a car, painting, building, celebrity, insect, etc. Your eyes flick top-to-bottom, side-to-side, point-to-point, finding more and more details until the brain is certain.
Scientists can track these eye movements. It's remarkable how much activity is required to identify a single face that is, to be sure it's not a similar face. The eye might go to the ears, then nose, then lips, back up to the hairline, and around again. There might be 10, 20, or 30 saccades before you confidently decide, "This is Mary in accounting."
When the first symbol languages were introduced, such as Egyptian hieroglyphics, nothing changed. A picture of a bird is the same as a real bird, from the point of view of the eyes making sense of it. Designs such as Chinese ideograms are again the same thing. Hieroglyphics were objects just like birds and flowers.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
Using that technique, ALL words become "sight-words." Your brain has to be fast enough to translate the images the words invoke, but that's not that difficult. Your thoughts work a lot faster than your eyes.
But if the author's point is that phonics is the root of reading and comprehension, then I agree with him.
I’m also guessing they are less and less frequently read-to as toddlers.
Interesting article. Throw in the libtard penchant for arbitrarily changing the meaning of words and we have an illiterate generation, or two.
Always an excuse being invented so people are not accountable. That is what I read between the lines of that article.
As far as a “reading problem” - some of us were raised with reading (recreational) was high on the list of leisure activities. Not non-stop, unfettered video games, social media, etc.
A love of reading was instilled early-on by parents then teachers who read engaging stories to us, allowing us to follow along and learn from it.
Alas - we fail to train and raise kids - then blame something else for the “reading problems”...
Speaking of scanning - I had to get to the bottom of this article to find out what the title referred to. WAY too much phoneme/ eye movement detail. However, as a tutor, I abhore sight words. The kids have to memorize 1000 in Kdg. And you are right, the parents don’t read to them. There, two fixes.
I used to work with a guy who was a speed reader. The amount of material, and detail, he could digest was simply amazing. He read books and even technical manuals overnight. I was skeptical until I was able to confirm his level of comprehension; he really was absorbing the stuff. He also had a very fast brain and may have been reading paragraphs instead of lines.
I’ve also followed the Reading Wars.
Phonics is based on “sounding out” words. Eventually who can read everyone learned phonics, but it is WHEN you learn it and whether some other crap has been put in your brain first that will determine what kind of reader you are for life.
WHOLE LANGUAGE was 180 DEGREES OPPOSITE of Phonics. It basically went like this: If you put a kid in front of some of the great works of literature, they will literally ABSORB the skills needed to read. Just read plays from Shakespeare and Plato to the kid, and they’ll be reading Chemistry books in no time. Sounds nuts, but that is exactly what Whole Language was. Needless to say, the Education Establishment LOVED IT - since they didn’t have to do that yucky ‘drill and kill’ associated with Phonics and could instead ‘enjoy’ their literature while they taught it to their kids.
It took a generation of illiterates to finally convince parents that Whole Language was a bad thing, but the reason you don’t hear about it anymore is not because it’s gone, but because it has morphed into SIGHT WORDS (i.e., the subject of this article). Sight Words, I guess are a little better, as they don’t dump King Lear on to the laps of 6 year olds and then call those kids “Special Needs” when they can’t read a Chemistry book the next week, but it’s not much better.
The problem is that people cannot learn to read by sight before learning phonics. They may be able to memorize a hundred, maybe a few hundred words by sight alone (for real smart ones), but only if the FONT IS IDENTICAL, there’s no italics, no plurals, and God knows what else. You don’t learn reading by only knowing a few hundred words.
So INSTEAD of kids learning phonics at an early age, they given Sight Words, which not only delays the inevitable, it also CONFUSES THEM as they struggle to try to figure out how to approach new words (is it one of my Sight Words, or should I sound it out). FINALLY, in 4th Grade, they learn phonics, and with that will be slow readers for life - as most normal kids can learn reading at age 4 (if someone bothers to teach them), and virtually all normal kids can learn reading at age 5. The kids who’s parents made the effort to teach or have them taught reading at those ages are the ones that populate our top universities.
But I know, WHO AM I TO SAY, so go back to helping your kids Sight Word homework, but don’t blame me when they’re still trying to figure out what career they want when they’re living at home, playing video games, at age 26.
The “mini movements” are beyond control and barely noticeable, like reflexes. Whether you train yourself to recognize sight words or not, without those movements, you can’t see. It’s a matter of neurology and how the brain works (I had a class including this type of material).
If you ever look at someone who’s daydreaming, you’ll notice their eyes are unusually still. By cessation of the movement you are left with your “mind’s eye” and only see what you “think”.
Ironically, the internet has returned reading to the top of leisure time activities.
Of course, it has also created short attention span readers. People who can’t digest more than a few paragraphs at a time. That (imho) is the real reading crisis. It isn’t that people don’t read, it’s that they can’t read in depth; can’t spend the several hours it takes to digest a serious work.
Ping a ling
Letters represent sounds. I used to read this to my son when he was a baby. He is now 17 and an honors student.
It's kind of like stepping back and taking in the whole picture instead of just one piece of it.
Tag. The first word I ever really read and it was thanks to my first grade teacher and phonics. We didn’t have Dick & Jane we had Tag, the dog with siblings, Dot and Jim. Once the letters T-a-g made sense, learning the letter sounds and letter combination sounds made it so easy to figure out, sight reading is based on what one knows. Kind of like my eldest about age 2yrs had learned logos, which included some words, so if we drove by a delivery truck or billboard she would surprise me by saying Sears, Ames, Stop & Shop and I would glance about wondering why she was calling out a store name when we were no where near the store, oh a billboard or truck with the name in logo form on it. Of course these had stylized lettering and color which made it easier to ID, I doubt she could have read the store names if written on a page.
I find in my work that kids often have very limited vocabularies and that the only encounters they have with reading come at school. A big problem for teaching a subject only literate people can truly grasp.
Back in the 60s I took the Evelyn Wood speed reading course. It works exactly as you describe. At first, one uses a side to side motion of the hand to pace the eye across the page. As one gets better, the page can be read with just a top to bottom motion. People who see you do it assume you are just skimming, but in fact you read every single word. It s a fantastic skill that I don’t use very much any more, but when I was teaching it came in very handy.
Sight words once were words that were sounded out until they were encountered so frequently that any process of recognition became so fast that it was not really perceived. The dumb asses teaching my son reading this past year in kindergarten have the cart before the horse and are trying to teach “sight words” to a kid who doesn’t know ANY FECKIN WORDS. He stops struggling when I tell him to sound it i
We were reading to our kids very early and they wanted to learn how to read just before they turned five. I taught them phonics first and they were reading in no time. Now I am reading to my one year old grandson who gets so excited when we open a book!
Sight words and gobbledegook, that’s why kids can’t read. A second grader is supposed to recognize 30,000 words but can’t sound out the words in a sentence they don’t know so the sentence has no meaning and they get frustrated and give up. This is the state of public education.
It was considered good if you could read 300 words a minute; the average was somewhere around 250. I maxed out the machine (at around 5,000 wpm, if I recall) and of course the teacher thought I was faking it. So she tested me on the content and I aced it. She couldn't believe it. But I proved it numerous times afterward, and not just to her but to other teachers as well.
It is reported that JFK could read up to 20,000 wpm.
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