This is why we don’t have better readers: Response to Lucy Calkins

This post is available as a PDF. Lucy Calkins has written a manifesto entitled “No One Gets To Own The Term ‘Science Of Reading’”. I am a scientist who studies reading.  Her document is not about the science that I know; it is about Lucy Calkins. Dr. Calkins is a prolific pedagogical entrepreneur who has… Continue reading This is why we don’t have better readers: Response to Lucy Calkins

The plural of “anecdote” is …

Every scientist has heard the adage, The plural of anecdote is not “data”. Anecdotes have scientific value—they can reveal new phenomena before they’ve been systematically studied—but they’re not facts.  They are nonetheless often treated as such, especially if several seem to make a consistent point.* Twitterer Sara Pikelet wittily observed that anecdotes are “small batch… Continue reading The plural of “anecdote” is …

Teacher qualifications: Raise the bar, remove the bar

New K-5 teachers are underprepared for the job. There are exceptions, of course, but most programs leading to teacher certification/licensure are grossly inadequate. There’s a deeply entrenched belief that how to teach can’t be taught, and so it isn’t. Teachers are left to learn on the job, which isn’t optimal for them or for their… Continue reading Teacher qualifications: Raise the bar, remove the bar

Decline of Reading, 1957

Concerns about literacy levels in the US and distractions of other technologies are not new.  Here’s an amusing illustration: In the late 1950s, Mike Wallace, the late television journalist, hosted a TV interview program that was just like “Charlie Rose” except that it was live and sponsored by Phillip Morris cigarettes, which Wallace chain-smoked on camera.… Continue reading Decline of Reading, 1957

Teachers failing? Not in my book

Contrary to a headline that sometimes appears over an interview with me in The Atlantic, this is what the book says (more than once): “I must also emphasize that my concerns [about how reading is taught] focus not on teachers—their integrity, commitment, motivation, abilities, effort, sincerity, or intelligence—but rather on what they are taught about… Continue reading Teachers failing? Not in my book