kitchen table math, the sequel: Molly on strategies used by adults who can't read

Friday, April 2, 2010

Molly on strategies used by adults who can't read

re: the balanced literacy video
About 20 years I ago, I took part in a training program for Literacy Volunteers of America. It was a fairly intense training for volunteers who would be working with illiterate adults. One thing we learned was the coping strategies that illiterate adults use. This video is a great demonstration of those strategies. Figure out the first letter and look at the picture to guess. We are actively teaching children to use the coping strategies of illiterates, rather than teaching them to read. There is something very wrong with the whole process.

1 comment:

Niels Henrik Abel said...

That's a far cry from King Sejong's solution to teaching illiterates to read:

"Sejong supported literature, and encouraged high class officials and scholars to study at the court. King Sejong also oversaw, and perhaps participated himself, in the creation of the written language of hangul and announced it to the Korean people in the Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음), meaning 'The verbally right sounds meant to teach the people.'"


"King Sejong the Great profoundly impacted Korean history with his introduction of hangul, the native phonetic alphabet system for the Korean language.

"Before the creation of Hangul, only members of the highest class were literate (hanja was typically used to write Korean by using adapted Chinese characters while Hanmun was sometimes used to write court documents in classical Chinese). One would have to learn the quite complex hanja characters in order to read and write Korean. Further, despite modifications to the Chinese characters, hanja could prove cumbersome when transcribing the Korean language due to considerable differences grammar and sentence order.

"King Sejong presided over the introduction of the 28 letter Korean alphabet, with the explicit goal being that Koreans from all classes would read and write. He also attempted to establish a cultural identity for his people through its unique script. First published in 1446, anyone could learn Hangul in a matter of days. Persons unfamiliar with Hangul can typically pronounce Korean script accurately after only a few hours study. He created the Hangul characters from scratch, and based each one on a simplified diagram of the patterns made by the mouth, tongue and teeth when making the sound related to the character. Words are built by writing the characters in a syllabic blocks. The blocks of letters are then strung together linearly."

Not a peep about coping strategies and using context clues or looking at pictures.