I’m reading a new book about reading by Mark Seidenberg– Language at the Speed of Sight. He carefully and adroitly explains what science has learned about how children learn to read, and describes the huge gap between what science has learned and how reading is actually taught in most schools. He cites studies that show that teachers are tending to cling to old ideas rather than looking for new discoveries from cognitive and neuroscience reading research. Here’s a great quote from John F.Kennedy: “[t]oo often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
[JFK Commencement Address at Yale University, June 11 1962]
Fortunately, Seidenberg also suggests some good ways to bridge this gap. I highly recommend this book and so does the NY Times.