Millions of kids can't read well. Scientists have known for decades how children learn to read but many schools are ignoring the research. They buy teacher training and books that are rooted in a disproven idea. Emily Hanford investigates four authors and a publishing company that have made millions selling this idea.
Corinne Adams watches her son's lessons during Zoom school and discovers a dismaying truth: He can't read. Little Charlie isn't the only one. Sixty-five percent of fourth graders in the United States are not proficient readers. Kids need to learn specific skills to become good readers, and in many schools, those skills are not being taught.
Sixty years ago, Marie Clay developed a way to teach reading she said would help kids who were falling behind. They’d catch up and never need help again. Today, her program remains popular and her theory about how people read is at the root of a lot of reading instruction in schools. But Marie Clay was wrong.
President George W. Bush made improving reading instruction a priority. He got Congress to provide money to schools that used reading programs supported by scientific research. But backers of Marie Clay’s cueing idea saw Bush’s Reading First initiative as a threat.
Teachers sing songs about Teachers College Columbia professor Lucy Calkins. She’s one of the most influential people in American elementary education today. Her admirers call her books bibles. Why didn't she know that scientific research contradicted reading strategies she promoted?
Teachers call books published by Heinemann their "bibles." The company's products are in schools all over the country. Some of the products used to teach reading are rooted in a debunked idea about how children learn to read. But they've made the company and some of its authors millions.
Lucy Calkins says she has learned from the science of reading. She's revised her materials. Fountas and Pinnell have not revised theirs. Their publisher, Heinemann, is still selling some products to teach reading that contain debunked practices. Parents, teachers and lawmakers want answers. In our final episode, we try to get some answers.
The parents knew something wasn’t right. The school said everything would be fine. But their kids weren’t learning how to read. In this documentary, originally published in September 2017, we look at why kids with dyslexia have a hard time getting the help they need in school.
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Jack Silva had a problem. He was the chief academic officer of a school district in Pennsylvania, and more than 40% of the kids in his district were not proficient readers. He didn't know much about how kids learn to read, but he knew he had to figure it out. Originally published in September 2018, this documentary helped ignite a national conversation about the science of reading. Winner of an EWA Public Service Award...
Molly Woodworth had a secret: She couldn’t read very well. She fought her way through text by looking at the first letter of a word and thinking of something that made sense. Reading was slow and laborious. Then she learned that her daughter's school was actually teaching kids to read that way. In this documentary, originally published in August 2019, host Emily Hanford reveals that many kids are being taught the habi...
There are kids like C.J. all over the country. Schools tell their parents they are reading at grade level, but the kids are not. And whether they ever get the help they need can depend a lot on their family income and their race. In this documentary, originally published in August 2020, host Emily Hanford shows that America’s approach to reading instruction is having an especially devastating impact on children of color.
This week we have an episode of a show called Brains On. It’s a science podcast for kids from our colleagues at APM. In this episode, Emily joins the Brains On hosts to talk about how people learn to read. Grab the kids in your life and listen to this special episode made for kids and curious adults.
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Messages poured in: voicemails, emails, tweets. We got a lot of messages from people after they heard Sold a Story. In this bonus episode, we bring you some of their voices. A 10-year-old figures out why he has struggled to read. A mom stays up late to binge the podcast. A teacher confirms what he's suspected for years — he's not really teaching kids how to read.
Across the country, school districts are dropping textbooks, state legislatures are going so far as to ban teaching methods, and everyone, it seems, is talking about "the science of reading." Things have been changing since Sold a Story was released. In this bonus episode, we tell you about some of the changes and what we think about them.
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