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|2013 Annual Letter
December 20, 2013
This morning I listened to an interview with Malcolm Gladwell on Fox News discussing his new book, David and Goliath. He spoke of many top executives who have overcome "dyslexia" and still become very successful. I ordered his book to read on Kindle and will quote from it here. In Chapter 4 he points out that annually about one third of the American public cannot read proficiently, and the number is higher if we accept the National Adult Literacy Survey of 2008. Unfortunately only a few of that number actually reach their potential, despite the examples he cites in his book. But the quote below represents the challenge that we know exists in waking up the public to the fact that there is a solution to this debacle. All children CAN be taught to read, and most would then go on to be successful in life as literate adults.
"David and Goliath is a book about what happens when ordinary people confront giants. By "giants," I mean powerful opponents of all kinds - from armies and mighty warriors to disability, misfortune, and oppression. Each chapter tells the story of a different person - famous or unknown, ordinary or brilliant - who has faced an outsized challenge and been forced to respond." Gladwell, Malcolm (2013-10-01). David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
When the topic of reading instruction comes up in conversation questions are often asked that go something like this: Why don't my children learn to read in the first grade? Is it because English is too difficult? Does my child have "dyslexia" (meaning a physiological deficiency in the brain)? Is there ANY logic to English, or is it just too jumbled and irrational to learn effectively? Isn't there any research that teachers can use to find the best way to teach my child to read? Don't the colleges of education prepare teachers to teach reading in the classroom? Is it simply poverty that prevents children from learning to read? Do we need more money to do the job? Is it the ethnicity of a child that matters?