Phonics and the State of the Union

Our friend Jonathan Mayhew has been wondering whether the “balanced literacy” approach to teaching reading has neglected fundamental ways the brain apprehends and organizes sound itself, to the detriment of a generation or more of young would-be readers.

Professors of education are not neuroscientists, but perhaps they should be. … I’m thinking that language acquisition begins with prosody, and so little children are very good already at sound.  

Mayhew’s post reminded me why I would not be watching – that is, listening totonight’s State of the Union address by President Biden. No spoken set-piece is less mellifluous than this thing, its aural rhythms undermined by round after round of applause as if at the point of a cattle prod. (I might have it on silent, though, to catch any actual “action.”)

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