Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Announcing a New Literacy Acquisition Strategy

Susan Notes:

This reading skills acquisition strategy worked in Israel. Will it work in Chicago? Clearly, there's a need here for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding to back a randomized control trial and give us the answer.

by Etgar Keret
from The Seven Good Years: A Memoir

When I was three, I had a ten-year-old brother. . . [and] my brother began to develop a serious concern about me. An article he read in Haaretz said that illiterate people are excluded from the job market, and it bothered him very much that his beloved three-year-old brother would have a hard time finding work. So he began to teach me reading and writing using a unique technique he called "The chewing gum method." It worked as follows: My brother would point to work, which I had to read out loud. If I read it properly, he would give me a piece of unchewed gum. If I made a mistake, he stuck his chewed bum in my hear. The method worked like magic, and at the age of four, I was the only kid in nursery school who knew how to read. I was also the only kid who, at least at first glance, looked like he was balding. But that is another story.

— Etgar Keret
The Seven Good Years


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