"Listening to your inner voice": followup

Subject: "Listening to your inner voice": followup
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 12:27:01 -0500

A ways back, we discussed whether it's normal to sound words aloud in your
head while reading. According to a recent issue of Scientific American
(March 2002, p. 85-91, "How should reading be taught?"), we do. That's
reassuring to those of us who can hear the little voice in our heads when we
read, and who try to match the meter and pattern of our prose to the needs
of that inner voice. If you've ever wondered why some writing sounds smooth,
and other writing doesn't, this is a pretty good hint. A faint but
significant techwr-l tie-in. <g>

The article also presents a damaging critique of the "whole language"
approach to learning to read, something that (as writers who presumably hope
to encourage people to read) we should all be concerned about. Please don't
start a debate over this issue here on techwr-l; that's not the place for
it, and such debates typically raise a lot more heat than light. I raise
this issue purely as an incidental one related to the importance and
practice of our jobs; read the article and decide for yourself whether the
emperor is wearing any clothes (and how to pronounce "naked" if you don't
learn phonics).

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an
accumulation of facts is no more science than a heap of stones is a
house"--Jules Henri Poincaré

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