Reading Matters

Connecting Science and Education

COMING SOON: Online Book Club

Scroll down to find the reading schedule and study guide!

If you have registered and did not receive the email with the zoom link, please email Molly at mfarrythorn@wisc.edu and let her know.

A free book club for “Language at the Speed of Sight” will be hosted by the Reading League Wisconsin and Dr. Molly Farry-Thorn. Dr. Farry-Thorn got her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and is now a postdoctoral researcher working with me. Meetings will be hosted live on Zoom on four Sundays in October and November (10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15) at 3pm Central Time, and last around an hour.

The portions of the meetings where Dr. Farry-Thorn is presenting will be recorded and shared videos on the Reading League Wisconsin YouTube channel. However, you must register to attend any of the live meetings. To register, fill out the google form at this link: https://forms.gle/e5XY74ewKnbs9fZZA

The deadline to register for this book club is 12pm Central Time on Friday, October 2nd.

Each meeting will cover three chapters of the book. The schedule will be posted here and in the “Language at the Speed of Sight Book Club” Facebook group. However, you will not need to read the entire book to participate in these meeting. We realize people have limited time (and this is a dense book!), so there will be recommended pages to read for each meeting (although you are of course welcome to read more). During each meeting, Dr. Farry-Thorn will present a brief summary of the information in the book – we will assume that you have read the appropriate sections. Most of the meeting time will be devoted to discussion in breakout rooms and answering questions that come from these discussions. There will also be opportunities for discussion and questions in the Facebook group.

Reading Schedule & Discussion Questions

Recommended pages to read for each meeting are the sections in bold. Of course, you are welcome to read more!

October 4

CHAPTER 1 | The Problem and the Paradox

  1. Introduction – p. 3
  2. Sputnik Lands on USA – p. 5
  3. A Science of Reading – p. 12

CHAPTER 2 | Visible Language

  1. Introduction – p. 15
  2. Each of These Things is Not Like the Other – p. 16
  3. Mashup! – p. 19
  4. Hear My Words – p. 20
  5. Just Cheat – p. 24
  6. What Is It Like to Be the Word “Bat”? – p. 26

CHAPTER 3 | Writing: It’s All Mesopotamian Cuneiform to Me

  1. Introduction – p. 31
  2. What the History of Writing Has to Say About Reading – p. 35
  3. What Ought to Be in Pictures? – p. 38
  4. A Picture Is Worth How Many Words? – p. 44
  5. Writing Is for Sound and Meaning – p. 46
  6. Finding Phonemo – p. 50

Discussion Questions

Chapter 1
  1. Describe three consequences of children’s reading failures. What are their implications for the child, family, community, and beyond? [p. 7]
  2. Mark asserts that there is a disconnection between the science of reading and educational practice. That’s pretty harsh! Is this claim consistent with your own experience? [p. 9]
  3. Do you think it’s realistic to think that educators (not just teachers but principals, superintendents, the professors who teach them and create curricula) could gain sufficient expertise in the science of reading to make use of it? [p. 9]
  4. Educational research often focuses on “literacy” instead of “reading”. When people use one term or the other, what are they trying to signal? [p. 10]
  5. What are the basic tools you need to be an advocate for change in reading instruction? [p. 11]
  6. “Reading is a technology”: what does that mean? Language is not a technology: why not? Is math a technology? What about fire? Discuss! [p. 12]
Chapter 2
  1. The text describes ways in which speech and reading differ. For example, speech is “fast-fading”. Can you think of exceptions to these assertions? Are there cases where reading is more like speech, or vice versa? [p. 18]
  2. What does it mean to say that phonemes are like “spoken letters”? How are phonemes similar to letters? How are they different? [p. 27]
Chapter 3
  1. Language evolved in the spoken modality (talking and listening), and writing only came around much later. Why didn’t the opposite happen: use of written language, followed by invention of speaking? Why can’t children learn to write before they learn to talk?
  2. What are the four developments that were critical to the development of modern writing systems? [p. 36]
  3. How many morphemes are in the following words?
Helper
Undesirability
Disagreeable
Fastest
Finger
Pies

October 18

CHAPTER 4 | The Eyes Have It

  1. Introduction – p. 59
  2. Eyes Like Yours – p. 62
  3. The Perceptual Span – p. 64
  4. We Like to Look – p. 68
  5. Speed Reading and Reading Speed – p. 70
  6. Change the Reader – p. 73
  7. Change the Text – p. 79

CHAPTER 5 | F u cn rd ths, u cn gt a gd jb n rdng rsch

  1. Introduction – p. 85
  2. Department of Redundancy Department – p. 88
  3. Varieties of Orthographic Expertise – p. 92
  4. Why Statistical Knowledge Is Powerful – p. 96

CHAPTER 6 | Becoming a Reader

  1. Introduction – p. 101
  2. Proposed Requirements for Licensure as a Certified Skilled Reader – p. 102
  3. Reading Develops – p. 104
  4. Why Do Letters Have Names? – p. 107
  5. Vocabulary: It’s Not Just Number of Words – p. 109
  6. Reading to Children: Necessary but Not Sufficient – p. 113
  7. Finishing the /h/-/a/-/t/ – p. 117

 

November 1

CHAPTER 7 | Reading: The Eternal Triangle

  1. Introduction – p. 123
  2. Reading Is Phondamental – p. 126
  3. Evidence from Skilled Readers – p. 126
  4. Evidence from Children – p. 129
  5. Blame English? – p. 131
  6. Is It a Virtue to Be Shallow? – p. 135
  7. Reading the Triangle Way – p. 137

CHAPTER 8 | Dyslexia and Its Discontents

  1. Introduction – p. 149
  2. The Rough Guide to Dyslexia – p. 150
  3. What Is Dyslexia? – p. 153
  4. Does Dyslexia Exist? – p. 156
  5. How Can Dyslexics Be Identified? – p. 161
  6. The Drama of the Dyslexic Child – p. 163
  7. The Natural History of Dyslexia – p. 168
  8. Learning to Read with a Phonological Impairment – p. 170
  9. The Phonological Umbrella – p. 176
  10. Is Dyslexia a “Desired Difficulty”? – p. 178

CHAPTER 9 | Brain Bases of Reading

  1. Introduction – p. 187
  2. Triangulating the Brain – p. 189
  3. Acquired Dyslexia – p. 190
  4. Learning from Disorder – p. 200
  5. The “Simple View” of the Reading Brain – p. 201
  6. Modules for Reading? – p. 203
  7. Brain Bases of Dyslexia – p. 209

November 15

CHAPTER 10 | How Well Does America Read?

  1. Introduction – p. 217
  2. Move Along, Nothing to See Here – p. 222
  3. More Than Poverty: The Black-White Achievement Gap – p. 235
  4. Where Does Education Matter Most? – p. 246

CHAPTER 11 | The Two Cultures of Science and Education

  1. Introduction – p. 247
  2. What Are Teachers Taught? – p. 249
  3. The Cross-Cultural Divide – p. 257
  4. How Science Functions in the Educational Context – p. 259
  5. The Pseudoscience of Reading – p. 262
  6. Phonics – p. 263
  7. The Psycholinguistic Guessing Game – p. 268
  8. Basic Skills and Comprehension – p. 271
  9. Repercussions – p. 274
  10. The Honey-Vinegar Dilemma – p. 280

CHAPTER 12 | Reading the Future

  1. Introduction – p. 283
  2. The Flexner Report: A Model for Change? – p. 288
  3. And What Can Be Done About It – Now – p. 293
  4. Why Are There “Wars” About Reading and Teaching? – p. 298