Tuesday, December 08, 2009
The soporific effect of phonics
Don’t ask me why, but I’m having to read lots of research papers on phonics at the moment. The only way I’ve found to cope with this is by taking a couple of them to bed with me each night. And there’s a very interesting phenomenon. It all starts off quite well; in fact I must say some of them are written quite well. You can sometimes believe that there’s a really interesting subtle problem that they’re shedding new light upon. Then the researchers begin to tell you what they did, and I notice how incredibly heavy my eyelids have become. But I push on, willing myself to concentrate. I wake up after about 10 minutes still clutching the paper; still no further on. It works everytime! Maybe I’ve discovered a cure for insomnia... but no sadly that can’t be true unless I first have a control group and a very specific treatment. Anyway I’ve tried reading them in the afternoon instead. Unfortunately I get the same effect. But today was a bit of a breakthrough. I read one in the morning. And I found myself wondering just how the learning of a symbol system invented by humans can remain such a mystery to those who invented it in the first place. And then I drifted off. Again.