Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
E. D. Hirsch makes a remarkably plausible proposal about how we should teach our children to read. A premise of his 'plan' is that children should be equipped with the tools of phonics to enable them to ascertain the sounds of words. This book introduces, if you will, the next step in the process of reading instruction. His basic thesis is that children should understand words from their previous oral 'communications' before reading them in books. When children encounter unfamiliar words in their readings there are difficulties in determining their meanings whether it be from contextual inferences or from dictionary work. Thus his proposal is, in major part, to expose young children to many ideas, things, and activities so they can learn the words that apply to them. Then as they see these words in their readings (applying their phonetical abilities to link them to the words they already know) they will find reading more informative and enjoyable. He shows that current attempts to increase classroom time spent in reading reduces the time spent by the children learning other things. It is the learning of other things that builds their vocabularies- generally from the oral communications from the teacher. When these other learning activities are curtailed the child's vocabulary development is correspondingly retarded. I call this a 'one, two, punch' because this strategy for reading development depends on the two avenues of phonics and oral vocabulary development. And how does the title relate to all this? Well, 'Knowledge Deficit' simply suggests that children should be taught more facts which, of course, entails more words. With more knowledge they will have more vocabulary, which is the prerequisite for becoming accomplished readers.