The latest episode of Brain Science (BS 136) is discussion of Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It by Mark Seidenberg . Unfortunately I was unable to reach the author, so this is a return the show's early days when it was not dominated by interviews. This book contains information that is important to anyone who cares about how children learn to read. One key theme is that there is a large gap between current reading science and educational practice.
In this podcast we explore the relationship between spoken and written language, including a very important difference: spoken language evolved but writing is an invention: the original information technology. We revisit several of the topics that we originally explored back in BSP 24, but we also explore some new topics such as how written languages reflect the unique properties of their particular spoken languages.
Ultimately, the most important question is how do people learn to read? The scientific perspective includes not only what has been learned about reading and the brain, but it also includes general principles of human learning. We consider the evidence that phonology is important, the role of statistical learning, and the physiological limits related to vision and cognition.
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- Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It by Mark Seidenberg
- Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century: The Literary Agenda by Maryanne Wolf
- Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention by Stanislas Dehaene
- Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf
- Understanding Reading (6th Ed) by Frank Smith
- Landauer, T.K., & Dumas, S.T. (1997). A Solution to Plato’s problem: The latent semantic analysis theory of acquisitions, induction, and representation of knowledge. Psychological Review, 104, 211-240.
- website for Language at the Speed of Sight: includes extensive references including videos and other demonstration of the principles discussed
- Demonstration of the Van Orden effect: https://markseidenberg.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/van-orden-effect-chapter-7.pps
- BSP 24 is a discussion of Proust and the Squid (This episode is included as an extra for BS 136 via the free Brain Science mobile app.)
- BSP 29 is an interview with Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid.
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