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« Why Kids Can't Read, And What You Can Do About It | Main | If It Quacks Like a Duck, It's Probably Baloney »

Wednesday, October 27, 2004



Dear Professor Plum,

Can you please reduce the font size? I have to scroll to the desired portion, get up, walk to the back of my room, read the few words on the screen, walk forward, sit, scroll down a bit, get up, walk to the back of the room,...

The fridge with the lemons is in the back so I really can't make too many trips before... well, you know.

And don't you think a few more pictures would help me decode the text? Especially after a few trips back to fridge to read the big (large, not many-lettered) words?

Hippidy Hop



Congratulations on the terrific new weblog!


On whole language: If indeed it's the idea that you recognize entire words, possibly by their shape, then it seems to me that it's very much like learning Chinese characters. Which Chinese do very well indeed - up to about 3000 or 4000 characters.

Maybe there are even basic forms, from which you can understand compounds.

But there's still a limit to how many word-shapes you can remember. 52 letter symbols (and a dozen others, for numbers and punctuation) is a lot easier.

Does anyone have any idea what physical and mental processes go on when someone speed-reads with good comprehension? I'm stuck around 200-300wpm, and I'm greatly afraid that if I stop and analyze what's going on I'll forget how to do it - like the man with the beard who became insomniac when someone asked him if he slept with his beard under the covers or out.

All I'm sure of is that after a while, it gets to be non-verbal - the words translate directly into thought patterns.

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