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[Susan notes: Here\'s a terrific letter that addresses the point of the article and then situates it in much larger problem. If progressives had the focus of the Right, we\'d link everything we write to the evils of No Child Left Behind and high-stakes testing.



Pound that message home.]

Submitted to Fortune but not published
05/01/2002

To the editor

Morris' May 13 article on dyslexia makes one mistake and one terrific point.



The mistake: She says it's "a reading disorder in which people jumble letters, confusing dog with god, say, or box with pox." In my 35 years

of teaching the worst readers, these kinds of mistakes don't happen.



Instead, readers confuse words with similar letters, meanings, and grammatical uses. The single most common pair of confusions is "and" and

"said". They look a lot alike and occur in similar places in sentences.



"Of", "for", and "from" is the next most frequent group, for the same reasons: they're all prepositions that look alike. If you teach children to read for meaning, asking "Does that make sense?", these problems disappear.



The terrific point: Morris asks, rhetorically, "Where would we be, after

all, if the bar had been set so high that none of have cleared it?"



That's where the Bush bar is, and the Texas Mirage has given us a preview of where we'll be (half Texas' urban children disappear between 9th grade and 12th). Of course, most of Morris' list

of dyslexic successes are middleclass white guys, not the urban poor. We should better ask, where will these kids be in the time of No

Corporation Left Behind?

--

Susan Harman, Ed.D.

California Coalition for Authentic

Reform in Education (CalCARE)

Susan Harman


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