Language at the Speed of Sight

Chapter 1: The Problem and the Paradox

Chapter 2: Visible Language

Chapter 3: Writing: It’s All Mesopotamian Cuneiform to Me

Chapter 4: The Eyes Have It

Chapter 5: F u cn rd ths, u cn gt a gd jb n rdng rsch

Chapter 6: Becoming a Reader

Chapter 7: Reading the Eternal Triangle

Chapter 8: Dyslexia and Its Discontents

Chapter 9: Brain Bases of Reading

Chapter 10: How Well Does America Read

Chapter 11: The Two Cultures of Science and Education

Chapter 12: Reading the Future


ARE YOU STILL WITH ME?  If you read these chapter titles and have not nodded off, I have high hopes you will read the rest of this blog.  If, like me, your favorite classes in college were linguistics and grammar, no wonder you are still reading. If they weren’t (granted, there are probably 10 of us in the US), I am glad you are hanging in there to hear about a very interesting book that every elementary educator should read: Language at the Speed of Sight, How We Read, Why So Many Can’t,  And What Can Be Done About It.


Mark Seidenberg, the author, a cognitive neuroscientist, has studied language, reading, and dyslexia for over 30 years. Because of that I can, at times, feel as though I am reading a medical science journal. I allow my non-science brain to absorb what it can and move on. I have learned SO much about how the brain learns to read.  For example, Seidenberg says, “The intimate but complex relationship between written and spoken language underlies many of the important scientific questions and educational controversies about reading and so will emerge as one of the major themes of this book.”


Fortunately the author balances the scientific brain content with a large amount of irony and humor. He also debunks many myths and common misconceptions about dyslexia and reading problems in general. One quote that stood out was from the head of a national reading association.  One important thing learned from this book is the extreme importance of early diagnosis in reading disorders such as dyslexia.


Our district has a great diagnostic screener in our DIBELS program. Early detention is so much more possible with the focused literacy information DIBELS gives about our students. The PDSA’s done to track progress on our SIPPS intervention students also help complete the puzzle of who might be at risk.


Every summer I read an educational book. If you are an educational geek like me, be sure to check this valuable read.  You can find more information from the following websites:


This CA guide to dyslexia gives characteristics by grade level in Chapter 14


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