“I never learned to read!”

About 15 years ago one of my brightest, most articulate students told me that she hated to read. I was shocked. She went on to describe reading as a painful chore she associated with school, something she was forced to do on threat of punishment. I looked at the assignments and assessments through her eyes and I saw her point. So I decided to change things up. I invented different ways to assess reading skills. Recently I sat with some students who somehow managed to make it nearly all the way through high school without learning to read – or even caring whether they learned to read – so I’m bringing this one back. Please feel free to share it with the learners and readers in your life, and try it yourself! dp

This was originally published on a high school English course blog, long before the pandemic and the shitgibbon…

You know, as much as we talk about reading, it’s easy to overlook the fact that some of us didn’t grow up with books and occasionally have a hard time with the basics.

Consider poor Wayne:

So, how do you know how well you can sound out words and get through a text without mistakes?

Here’s how:

1. Watch the video below;
2. Get a copy of Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss;
3. Set up a phone or a camera (or get a friend to help);
4. Read the book as fast and as well as you can;
5. Record your time and the number of mistakes you make;
6. Compare your numbers with mine.  Don’t forget to count my mistakes–I just learned that I’ve been mispronouncing the author’s name my whole life!
7. Post your video and your stats on your blog under the heading I CAN READ!


In reply to questions from the email bag…

  • If you’re having trouble finding the book, here is the text without the pics.
  • My reading was a one-take job, but yours doesn’t have to be. You can practice all you want before posting your best effort.
  • To earn course credit you must publish your post (title: I CAN READ!) by 11:59 P.M. on [date]. Bonus for additional renditions with friends/relatives 🙂