Reading is Unnatural

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Reading is Unnatural

Number one, we know that reading is complex. And most people give it short shrift as I did when I was a third grade teacher. I just took it for granted. It’s one of the most complex, unnatural cognitive interactions that brain and environment have to coalesce together to produce.

G. Reid Lyon, Past- Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch of the National Institute of Child Health & Human DevelopmentNational Institutes of Health, Current senior vice president for research and evaluation with Best Associates. Source: COTC Interview – https://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/lyon.htm#Whatweknow

No Evolutionary Support for Reading

Dr. Zvia Breznitz: Let me say that the human brain has existed about 60,000 years as such.

David Boulton: As such, yes, depending on whose information you takeSixty to two hundred thousand years as far as we can tell in terms of language effects on our outward physiology, yes.

Dr. Zvia Breznitz: Yes, but no system was devoted alongside the evolution of language to reading. Nothing. Nothing to reading. So, basically I think that the reading activity needed to develop it’s own kind of system and develop the abilities like a muscle. The brain is a muscle. If you don’t develop it appropriately, you’ll get up to 80% of Americans that can’t read. Or here in Israel, or with the Ehiopians who also can’t read right.

We have the same problem, not so much the extent, but we have the same difficulties.

Zvia Breznitz, Director, Laboratory for Neurocognitive Research, University of Haifa. Source: COTC Interview – https://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/breznitz.htm#NoEvolutionarySupportforReading

Reading is Not a Natural Act

It’s not a natural act. Language is natural, it’s something we’re hard wired for. And there are many theorists and researchers and linguists who have shown us that. But reading is not natural. Reading is an unnatural act that we have to lead young children through in a very detailed and systematic way. As one colleague said, why would we leave a little seven year old to discover what took us thousands of years to discover as a human beings? There are things that we can do to lead children to understand this orthography and to understand that it’s not natural, it’s inordinately complex.

Anne Cunningham, Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education with the Graduate School of Education at the University of California-Berkeley.  Source: COTC Interview:https://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/cunningham.htm#Readingisliketech

Dispelling the Myth that Reading is Natural

Reading is not natural. Speaking, language, oral language is natural. What does a baby do when it’s born? It cries. It’s natural. But reading has to be learned and has to be taught. It is not a natural activity. It is a difficult activity for a significant percentage of children.

Reading is Unnatural

We weren’t born with an alphabet in our brain. The alphabet is an invention. Man, humanity, invented the alphabet, or the sound symbol system, and when you invent something it isn’t natural. It’s unnatural, as you say.

Robert Sweet, Founder, National Right to Read Foundation, Retired professional staff of the U.S. House of Representatives. Source: COTC Interview –https://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/sweet.htm