Blogs About Reading
Sound It Out
Dr. Joanne Meier
Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.
The Rats of NIMH: THAT'S how people learn to read?
Our current family read aloud is the classic book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. We've just gotten to the Toy Tinker chapter, so don't tell me what happens! The girls are dying to come home from school today and hear more; my husband pleaded that we wait until he gets home so he can listen too.
If you haven't read the book in 20 or 30 years (like me) you've probably forgotten how detailed it is, particularly in describing the research design of the experiments. There's a whole chapter on Group A, Group B, and the control group. Thankfully, Nicodemus ended up in Group A, which was definitely the group to be in! Among other things, the rats in Group A are taught to read:
"Then, after I had looked at the picture and recognized it, a shape flashed on the screen under it — a sort of half circle and two straight lines, not like anything I had seen before. Then the voice began:
It was Julie's voice, speaking very clearly, but it had a tinny sound — it was a record. After repeating "are" a dozen times or so, that particular shape disappeared and another one came on the screen, still under the picture of the rat. It was a triangle, with legs on it. And Julie's voice began again:
And so it goes. The chapter walks us though the repeated presentation of "are," "aiee," "tea," "R-A-T," and "rat." Then onto "cat" and "rats" until finally the rats are reading the signs all around the laboratory (which bodes well for them in the coming weeks).
Anna was transfixed during this chapter.
"Mama, THAT'S how people learn to read?" she asked.
"Yep, at least that's how some people learn to read," I answered.
"Sheesh! That's hard work." Anna said.
You got that right, girl.