Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why Can't Johnny Read? Because it's English!

Here is a fascinating article about how difficult the English language really is to read compared to other languages. A few highlights:

 “…the Spelling Society speculates that English may just be the world’s most irregularly spelled language.”


 “Mastering such a language takes a long time and requires abilities that most children don’t develop until the middle or latter part of elementary school.”
The article goes on to explain some of the reasons that spelling the English language became so unpredictable. One reason: it was cast in stone by non-native-language-users.

 “The first English printing press, in the 15th century, was operated by Belgians who didn’t know the language and made numerous spelling errors (such as ‘busy’ in place of ‘bisy’).”

And of course there was the influence of money…

 “…because they were paid by the line, they sometimes padded words with extra letters; ‘frend,’ for example, became ‘friend.'”

 My takeaway is this: When we compare the literacy levels of our children to children in other countries around the world, the difficulty of the language needs to be considered. Somehow, this had not occurred to me before.

Friday, January 2, 2015

ADHD/Creativity Connection

I love brain science! This article makes a lot of interesting points – a worthy read.
...researchers identified 22 recurring personality traits in creative people. Of these 22 personality traits, 16 are considered positive, such as independent, energetic, curious, risk-taking, emotional, and artistic. The remaining six traits are considered negative, and include such terms as impulsive, hyperactive, and argumentative.
Honestly, something I've come to wonder is this: Could it be that attention spans are just a normal variable in humans--no more a disability than someone who is short rather than someone who is tall? Or someone who is fair-skinned rather than someone with more pigment. It's obvious that a child with a short attention span and the need to move more than others is a difficult child for a teacher in a traditional classroom, but I don't believe that that necessarily makes it a disability. Just my thoughts on that, but it does lead me to this part of the article:
“In the school setting, the challenge becomes how to create an environment in which creativity is emphasized as a pathway to learning as well as an outcome of learning.”

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