Lost in Translation?

[O]ne reason the science doesn’t get into the classroom is because it does not provide sufficient guidance about what to do there. It is not only that cognitive science is not a part of teacher education. If it were clear to teachers how such science could improve their effectiveness and their students’ progress, they would … More Lost in Translation?

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 published … More 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 … More 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 … More Teacher qualifications: Raise the bar, remove the bar

Ambiguity strikes home

“A low-income family will be less able to buy books and more likely to live in a neighborhood with fewer public libraries, which serve larger populations and contain fewer books that are in worse physical condition than those in middle-class areas.” That’s from p. 116 of my book, but what does the part in bold … More Ambiguity strikes home

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. One … More 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 … More Teachers failing? Not in my book

Teachers aren’t failing students, the people who teach them are.

First coverage of the book, in The Atlantic, which has done a very good job covering education issues for many years. Headline on article is fine: but when you paste the URL, sometimes it comes out like this, which is wrong: Book doesn’t blame teachers at all. It’s the people who teach the teachers who are failing. … More Teachers aren’t failing students, the people who teach them are.