In 2011, when an international survey reported that students in Shanghai dramatically outperformed American students in reading, math, and science, President Obama declared it a "Sputnik moment": a wake-up call about the dismal state of American education. Read more...
In 2011, when an international survey reported that students in Shanghai dramatically outperformed American students in reading, math, and science, President Obama declared it a "Sputnik moment": a wake-up call about the dismal state of American education. Little has changed, however, since then: over half of our children still read at a basic level and few become highly proficient. Many American children and adults are not functionally literate, with serious consequences. Poor readers are more likely to drop out of the educational system and as adults are unable to fully participate in the workforce, adequately manage their own health care, or advance their children's education. In Language at the Speed of Sight, internationally renowned cognitive scientist Mark Seidenberg reveals the underexplored science of reading, which spans cognitive science, neurobiology, and linguistics. As Seidenberg shows, the disconnect between science and education is a major factor in America's chronic underachievement. How we teach reading places many children at risk of failure, discriminates against poorer kids, and discourages even those who could have become more successful readers. Children aren't taught basic print skills because educators cling to the disproved theory that good readers guess the words in texts, a strategy that encourages skimming instead of close reading. Interventions for children with reading disabilities are delayed because parents are mistakenly told their kids will catch up if they work harder. Learning to read is more difficult for children who speak a minority dialect in the home, but that is not reflected in classroom practices. By building on science's insights, we can improve how our children read, and take real steps toward solving the inequality that illiteracy breeds. Both an expert look at our relationship with the written word and a rousing call to action, Language at the Speed of Sight is essential for parents, educators, policy makers, and all others who want to understand why so many fail to read, and how to change that.
- ISBN-13: 9780465019328
- ISBN-10: 0465019323
- Publisher: Basic Books
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 384
- Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-28
- Reviewer: Staff
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. Seidenbergs analysis is backed up by numerous studies and tables of data. His approach is pragmatic, myth-destroying, and rooted in scienceand his writing makes for powerful reading. (Jan.)