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The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads Hardcover – May 1, 2017
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From the Inside Flap
A Map to the Magic of Reading
Stop for a moment and wonder: what's happening in your brain right nowas you read this paragraph? How much do you know about the innumerable and amazing connections that your mind is making as you, in a flash, make sense of this request? Why does it matter?
The Reading Mind is a brilliant, beautifully crafted, and accessible exploration of arguably life's most important skill: reading. Daniel T. Willingham, the bestselling author of Why Don't Students Like School?, offers a perspective that is rooted in contemporary cognitive research. He deftly describes the incredibly complex and nearly instantaneous series of events that occur from the moment a child sees a single letter to the time they finish reading. The Reading Mind explains the fascinating journey from seeing letters, then words, sentences, and so on, with the author highlighting each step along the way. This resource covers every aspect of reading, starting with two fundamental processes: reading by sight and reading by sound. It also addresses reading comprehension at all levels, from reading for understanding at early levels to inferring deeper meaning from texts and novels in high school. The author also considers the undeniable connection between reading and writing, as well as the important role of motivation as it relates to reading. Finally, as a cutting-edge researcher, Willingham tackles the intersection of our rapidly changing technology and its effects on learning to read and reading.
Every teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, and school administrator will find this book invaluable. Understanding the fascinating science behind the magic of reading is essential for every educator. Indeed, every "reader" will be captivated by the dynamic but invisible workings of their own minds.
From the Back Cover
PRAISE FOR THE READING MIND
"Willingham's ability to make cognitive research on reading coherent and comprehensible is exceptional. This book should be standard fare in every doctoral education course on reading." Isabel L. Beck, Professor Emerita, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh
"This is another of Willingham's essential books for educational professionals, and anyone else interested in the reading processtelling them the cognitive science and practical implications of research in the domain of reading. No one does this kind of book better than Willingham!" Keith E. Stanovich, author of Progress in Understanding Reading and The Rationality Quotient
"Willingham captures the magic of reading while simultaneously demystifying how we read. He brings key experimental findings to light as he takes us on the journey from recognizing individual words to constructing meaning from text. Beautifully written, clear and accessible, yet still embracing complexities rather than shying away from themthis book is essential reading for anyone interested in how we read." Kate Nation, professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford; fellow and tutor in Psychology, St. John's College
"What goes on in the mind as we read? How do people learn to read? What motivates some to read more than others? For those curious about these questions, and for those who care about children learning to read and growing as readers, this delightful book explains this highly complex topic through fascinating studies and lively examples. With probing questions included, The Reading Mind will make a terrific book club read or textbook." Ellen McIntyre, dean and professor, College of Education, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
"Willingham's work will deepen your understanding of the many facets of reading and literacy, as well as how the brain processes what amounts to an astoundingly complex and historically unlikely process. This book should be required reading for anyone with a vested interest in the written word." Kristofor Lauricella, History teacher, High School for Youth & Community Development, Brooklyn, New York
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There are all kinds of these thinkers/writers, of course, covering all kinds of publishing territory: ed-reform experts frothing over things like accountability systems and school choice, 'teacher voices elevating' from classrooms to say...erm...not all that much (beyond, of course, that teaching is hard), reporters--often without experience in ed (just sayin')--jumping up to point out this year's Thing That Will Change Everything, and the like. Through all these characters and the various axes they're grinding, Willingham remains trained on the single matter all in education should be most concerned about: how people learn--and REALLY how people learn, not what some 19th-century philosopher theorized about how people learn or what some tech provider would love for u$ to believe about how learning i$ evolving or whatever.
And as how people really learn will always be at the center of the educational pursuit (would you take your car to a mechanic, for instance, who wasn't real clear about how cars work?), I'm always thankful when Willingham throws another book into the world. 'The Reading Mind' is yet another Willingham triumph. (Alongside Mark Seidenberg's 'Language at the Speed of Sight' and Doug Lemov's 'Reading Reconsidered' of the past year or so, in fact, 2016-17 may have produced a perfect evidence-supported resource set for your school team's re-education around reading.)
Though Willingham kicks off the book by saying its foremost purpose is not to be about how people learn to read (but, rather, to describe the processes behind how experienced readers read), there's more important content here for teachers than can be found in most teacher-training programs, NCTE publications, or district-level professional departments put together. Having read Willingham's books and other writings for close to 10 years now, I was familiar with several principles and references shared in 'The Reading Mind' already but still found many useful and applicable pieces. I appreciated especially the details about vocabulary learning ('Words, Words, Words', ch 4), the ideas about reading and one's self-concept ('Becoming a Reader', ch 6), and all the measured (and myth-shattering) responses to the ed-technophiles ('Reading After the Digital Revolution', ch 7). Though far from a how-to manual for classrooms, the types of insights Willingham packages here would be a useful filter through which to send teachers' current practices/assignments/expectations/messages to check for evidence-alignment. I can only imagine that such professional learning would have profound impacts on kids' outcomes and teachers' satisfaction.
Oh, and bonus? It's funny. Try it, I know you'll agree.