In the News: How to Get Your Mind to Read

In the Sunday New York Times, Dan Willingham argues that Americans are not very good at reading, and that the reason has to do with how schools teach reading.

Many blame the ubiquity of digital media. We’re too busy on Snapchat to read, or perhaps internet skimming has made us incapable of reading serious prose. But Americans’ trouble with reading predates digital technologies. The problem is not bad reading habits engendered by smartphones, but bad education habits engendered by a misunderstanding of how the mind reads.

He concludes:

Turning the tide will require profound changes in how reading is taught, in standardized testing and in school curriculums.

As an example of a state that is focusing its curriculum on the systematic building of knowledge to support better reading, Willingham notes that “Louisiana has recently taken this approach, and early results are encouraging.”

The article he cites to support this is from the Fall 2017 issue of Education Next: “Louisiana Threads the Needle on Ed Reform: Launching a coherent curriculum in a local control state,” by Robert Pondiscio.

— Education Next

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