Efficient learning for the poor: new insights into literacy acquisition for children.

Abadzi argues that reading depends on the speed of visual recognition and capacity of short term memory. To understand a sentence, the mind must read it fast enough to capture it within the limits of the short-term memory. This means that children must attain a minimum speed of fairly accurate reading to understand a passage. Learning to read involves “tricking” the brain into perceiving groups of letters as coherent words. This is achieved most efficiently by pairing small units consistently with sounds rather than learning entire words. To link the letters with sounds, explicit and extensive practice is needed; the more complex the spelling of a language, the more practice is necessary. All students should attain reading speeds of 45– 60 words per minute by the end of grade 2 and 120–150 words per minute for grades 6–8.

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