How is learning to swim like learning to read?

Both are skills to be learned and there is more in common that you might think.

First we learn to walk, how do we do that?  By watching others who are successful and copying them.  We don’t give up the first time we fall over and think we are never going to succeed.  With a bit of encouragement and patience we soon succeed.

When we meet water we can just jump in and tread water, this will keep us afloat, but not a lot more.  Some people will naturally work out how to do front crawl, backstroke or breaststroke and are going to be a lot more successful. Others need a few lessons.  Learning a new swimming stroke is modelled on people who are successful.

When it comes to learning to read, the world is committed to teaching phonics that are like treading water.  They will keep us afloat but be very slow if that is all you do. 50% of the population will accidentally progress to word recognition skills and will become  fluent readers.  If we are taught word recognition skills through mental imagery, in parallel with phonics, we could shortcut the whole process and stop Dyslexia developing.  Best practice tells us that people who are very fluent at reading, will use word recognition all the time and only use phonics when a word appears they have NEVER  seen before.

So why is one of the assessments in school reading nonsense words, this is like checking the speed at which you can tread water, when the real goal is fast swimming. The only sensible way to check for fluent reading is to listen to the pupil reading and ask the pupil if they have progressed to picturing words.

When it comes to spelling in English its even worse, see my next post.

About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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