Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reading about Reading

I'd requested Proust and the Squid from the public library and it finally arrived yesterday. I'd planned to browse it, reading the parts that seemed relevant or intriguing. Instead, I read the whole book today.

Here were some of the thoughts from the book I'm still thinking about:

“While reading, we can leave our own consciousness, and pass over into the consciousness of another person, another age, another culture.”

“The implications of cognitive automaticity for human intellectual development are potentially staggering.”

“…by five years of age, some children from impoverished-language environments have heard 32 million fewer words spoken to them than the average middle-class child. In another study, which looked at how many words children produce at age three, children from impoverished environments used less than half the number of words already spoken by their more advantaged peers….In the most underprivileged community, no children’s books were found in the homes; in the low-income to middle-income community, there were, on average, three books; and in the affluent community there were around 200 books….One of the major contributors to later reading was simply the amount of time for ‘talk around dinner.’ The importance of simply being talked to, read to, and listened to is what much of early language development is about….”

“Some up-front costs, such as transfer errors and substitutions from one language to the next, are less important than the advantages, if…the child learns each language well.” (implications of learning two languages as a child)

“When one realizes that children have to learn about 88,700 written words during their school years, and that at least 9,000 of these words need to be learned by the end of grade 3, the huge importance of a child’s development of vocabulary becomes crystal-clear.”

“An enormously important influence on the development of comprehension in childhood is what happens after we remember, predict, and infer: we feel, we identify, and in the process we understand more fully and can’t wait to turn the page.”

‘Recent reports from the National Reading Panel and the “nation’s report cards” indicate that 30 to 40 percent of children in the fourth grade do not become fluent readers with adequate comprehension….the entire school system (has) different expectations for students from grade 4 on. This approach is encapsulated in the mantra that in the first three grades a child “learns to read,” and in the next grades a child “reads to learn.”’


  1. very interesting. really makes you think about all the little things (and not so little things) that influence how a child learns. hmm.

  2. Very interesting- I actually spent today reading a book about reading too- Anna Quindlen's Imagined London (about literary London). I've never heard of Proust and the Squid- great title!

  3. This has been on my TBR for quite a while. Glad to see you liked it!

  4. As a teacher, this interests me. Thanks for posting youtr thouht. I gonna check it out!

    Interesting blogs, links and books


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