Changing Trajectories

The Problem is essentially social-educational.

For every child and adult who struggles and for all of us as a society, ’reading problems are always a consequence of ‘learning problems’. Improving the learning trajectories of children (and adults) who struggle with reading requires an Orientation Shift in how Parents and Teachers think about learning and the challenges involved in learning to read.

“The problem is our society’s lack of insight into what is involved in acquiring literacy.” Dr. Louisa Moats, Reading Scientist, Sopris West

“We need to reconceptualize what it means to learn to read and who’s responsible for its success if we’re going to deal with the problem.”  – Dr. Grover Whitehurst, Former Director of the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education

Reading is an unnaturally confusing challenge to our brains. It takes a lot of (early life learning) brain exercise for a brain to be ready for the challenges involved in learning to read. Depending on how well Instruction meets brain Readiness, children follow one of Two Paths: the upward spiraling of Matthew Effects or the downward spiral of Confusion and Shame.


We need to Boost Brain ReadinessReduce Extraneous Ambiguity, and Reframe the emotional experience to minimize learner’s propensity to blame themselves and trigger shame. We need to engage learners in ever more frequent, complex and rapid turn-taking Dialogue. We need to learn to Isolate, Vivify and give Feedback on the real-time edge of learning. We need to be very careful to Minimize our contributions to the shame struggling learners feel.

“So painful does shame become in the public arena of the schoolroom that our children swiftly divide into two streams and two futures purely on the basis of their response to the shame that accompanies the struggle to learn our written language.” – Donald L. Nathanson,M.D. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College, Author: Shame and Pride and Knowing Feeling

“Children are developing a pre-conscious aversion to the feel of confusion and a pre-conscious aversion to the feel of confusion decapitates learning Children of the Code