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Even the “Experts” Can Get It Wrong About Reading Sometimes

March 30, 2011

I recently had a lengthy layover at the Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport so I walked around a bit.  I saw a display case that had some books and author quotes in it so I went to investigate.

In the context of our current understanding of what reading is, one of the quotes struck me as odd.  It said, "What is reading but silent conversation."  The quote was by Walter Savage Landor who was an English prose and poetry writer who lived from 1775 to 1864. 

There are two things to note here....

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PA Discovers Spending More Money on Ineffective Educational Methods Leads to More Ineffectiveness

March 30, 2011

An article appeared in The Times Leader, a Pennsylvania newspaper, discussing the impact of proposed budget cuts on education.  The author quotes the state education secretary-nominee as testifying that "spending has risen without a corresponding increase in enrollment or test scores."

So, he is saying that they are not only spending a lot of money on education, but they increased spending in the hopes that it would improve test scores and it didn't.

So, they discovered that the more money they spent on ineffective educational methods led to more ineffectiveness. Go figure.

Investing more money merely leverages what you invest it in.  If you make bad investments, things can get much worse, but if you make good investments, things can get much better.

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What We Learned At The NASSP Conference

February 28, 2011

We had a great time at the conference of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) where we met educators from all over the country.  I was amazed at how great the need is to find an effective solution to help students improve their reading performance.

In fact, when I asked passersby, "Do you have students with reading problems?"  Most of them stopped and gave me that big "of course you know we do" smile as they walked over to see what we were doing.

A recurring theme I heard was, "I have high school students who read at the 3rd grade level and nothing we have tried seems to work."  To me, this was clear evidence that the science on which RPS was developed is sound.

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Effective Fixation/Flash Rate (EFR)

February 27, 2011

Warning: This blog post is a bit technical.

In silent-verbal reading, we read one word at a time sub-vocally and each word requires a fixation and a saccade (moving the eyes to the next fixation).  If each line has an average of 15 words, you have about 30 eye actions per line.

If you silent-sight read 2 words per fixation, you reduce the number of eye actions by half.  Likewise, if you silent-sight read 3 words per fixation, you reduce the number of eye actions by two-thirds and so on.

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Anatomy of the Eye and Reading

February 23, 2011

Have you ever wondered why the eyes do what they do when you are reading?

The retina is located in the back of the inside of the eye.  It contains photo receptors called cones and rods that turn light energy into chemical energy, which causes the propagation of electrical impulses along the optic nerve.

 There are approximately 100-120 million of these photo receptors in the retina and about 1 million fibers in the optic nerve.  This represents about a 100:1 compression of information that takes place in the eye.

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Reading and Practicing Basketball Skills

February 23, 2011

Basketball players know that if they want to be good, they need to spend many hours practicing fundamental basketball skills like passing, dribbling, and shooting.  With enough practice, these skills become habituated, automatic, and ready for any situation.

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More On Eye Exercise and Relaxation

February 21, 2011

Relaxing the muscles of the eyes when reading is an important skill to master. The more relaxed they are, the smoother they will move, the more synchronized they will be, the clearer your vision, and the more stamina they will have. 

Try these relaxation exercise meditations....

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Improving Reading Skills and Flossing

February 21, 2011

I don't know what it is about flossing, but according to my dentist, it is one of the most difficult things to get people to do.  We all know flossing is good for us.  We all know that if we don't floss we risk serious gum disease, tooth loss, and oral surgery.  We all know that there is a strong correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

 

So, I have to ask, "Why won't people do a simple daily task like flossing when they know it is good for them and that not doing it has such negative consequences?"

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