frank smith...part two of many

I'm nearly finished with the book, but there is so much there that my thoughts need to be split into more than one post. One of the first aspects of this book that really struck me was Smith's use of studies in his writing. Too much educational writing concerns anecdotal evidence, great in its own way, but hardly useful in forming arguments or, even, in applying to one's own classroom.

One of the studies that Smith refers to, and that struck me as incredibly important, highlights the fact that there is a well-defined physical limit to the amount of visual information anyone can process (and that limit is actually quite small). This does not mean that students should read slower, however, in an attempt not to overload the system. In fact, what it means is that students should be encouraged to read quickly and for comprehension. Students should not, not, not be told to read the same page over and over in an effort to understand. Instead, they should be allowed to receive "mediated assistance" (Smith's phrase) to ensure comprehension and then encouraged to move on.

The only way to make reading faster and easier is to make life easier and encourage students to read faster!

Genius. And I am very interested to see what the 6th edition has to add in terms of studies.