The Science of Reading and Cancer

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I have somewhat eclectic book reading habits, and I take pleasure in reading haphazardly (i.e. whatever I happen to come across). After growing bored with Moby Dick recently, I happened across a copy of Siddhartha Mukerjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. The book is compellingly written, narrating an expansive overview of… Continue reading The Science of Reading and Cancer

Language and Cognition

There was a fascinating summary thread I came across recently that I want to dig into, as there’s some really interesting and rich areas of tension to unpack. Here’s the thread: The final plenary of @ICCG_11 #icc1 is by the brilliant @ev_fedorenko: "The language system in the human mind and brain" — Michael Pleyer… Continue reading Language and Cognition

Universals of Language


In my last post, we looked at a wonderful paper, “Universals in Learning to Read Across Languages and Writing Systems“, that outlines operating principles of reading and writing across languages, as well as some key variations. Continuing on this theme, I wanted to highlight another recent paper, “The universal language network: A cross-linguistic investigation spanning… Continue reading Universals of Language

Operating Principles Across Written Languages

In the course of skimming research articles, every now and then something surfaces that is comprehensive, clarifying, and just flat out fun to read because it brings illumination to something I’ve been grappling with. One I want to make sure to bring to your attention, just in case you haven’t yet read it, is this… Continue reading Operating Principles Across Written Languages

Our Brains Were Not Born to Read…Right?

As I began my great awakening to the relatively extensive body of research on reading, one of the claims of reading research proponents that I’ve picked up on and carried with me is the idea that reading is unnatural and our brains were not born to read. And this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective,… Continue reading Our Brains Were Not Born to Read…Right?

I think I was wrong about Phonemic Awareness

When I began this journey into learning more about literacy and language development (not too long ago), one of the first areas where I began sensing a tension in the field was around phonological awareness and the notion of instruction related to different “grain sizes.” We know that phonological awareness develops in a manner that… Continue reading I think I was wrong about Phonemic Awareness

Phonology: How it Relates to Language and Literacy

I posted something on Twitter the other day (as I am wont to do far more frequently than write anything of deeper substance, alas) worrying that because the Simple View of Reading is a predominant model of reading (and may be therefore the basis from which some educators who are aware of it may primarily… Continue reading Phonology: How it Relates to Language and Literacy

Whole to Part to Whole

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Oral language is baked into our brains. We are born to learn to speak. Similarly, reading our visual surroundings is second nature. Our eyes are neurally attuned to pick out fine-grained distinctions and patterns amidst the noise. But written language is something we graft onto our existing circuitry. Graphemes get bootstrapped onto our auditory and… Continue reading Whole to Part to Whole

Provide Our Students with Textual Feasts

In a webinar, Dr. Alfred Tatum discussed the need to provide our students with “textual feasts” to build their intellect, and the phrase and concept has stuck with me ever since. It resonated with me because there’s a very strong tendency, when serving our students who struggle with academic text (such as students learning English,… Continue reading Provide Our Students with Textual Feasts