A site about “how people read, why so many people can’t, and what can be done about it.” Which is the subtitle of my book “Language at the Speed of Sight”.
My name is Mark Seidenberg. I’m a scientist who has studied reading since the disco era. I’m deeply concerned about literacy levels in the US, which are far too low, especially for people who face other conditions such as poverty and discrimination. Low literacy has obvious effects on individuals, affecting education, income, health and well-being, the ability to help educate one’s children–really, what doesn‘t it affect? Literacy levels in the US also raise questions about our collective ability to run a democracy and distinguish truth from fiction.
Science doesn’t have the answer to everything, but we could surely do a better job with more children if more of what we have learned were effectively incorporated in educational practices. The obstacles are enormous; I discussed some of them in the book, and will pursue them further on this site. I firmly believe the strongest hope for change is parents and the grass-roots organizations they create. There are a lot of parents who know their children are not being adequately educated. Parents are voters. They’re angry, and they’re organizing.
One thing I can do is try to make more of the science accessible, giving parents, community leaders, and other interested parties the information they need to engage with teachers, principals, school boards, and the rest of the educational establishment. That’s what this site is about.