(Not sure why I have been in such a nostalgic mood lately.

On YouTube I’ve been watching old horses from bygone eras win the Triple Crown.  Perhaps it was seeing my third Triple Crown victory a couple of weeks ago that has sent me into a reverie of remembrance.   (I was there when Secretariat won the Triple Crown at Belmont and watching it still give me chills.)

Following up on last week’s blog where we mined nuggets from the way back machine (See: Mining the Nuggets) I had promised to dip into the Sociological & Psychological Factors in Reading,” from the 1964 Proceedings of the Annual Reading Institute of Temple University.

Staying in the zone of mining the nuggets, I thought I would share a few  quotes from the conference to bring all of you into my current state of nostalgia.

Renowned psychologist, Dr. Jules Abrams, had a few choice things to say in his article, “Psychological Influences on Reading:”

“Reading must always be evaluated as a total process.  When this is done, it becomes abundantly clear that there are innumerable psychological factors which can influence the child’s ability to read.”

“Reading difficulty may be caused by a multiplicity of factors (educational and sociological, as well as psychological) all of which are highly interrelated.  The individual is a physical organism, functioning in a psychological manner.  Reading, being a complex process of a total individual, may involve any or all of these (psychological) aspects, with cause and effect being closely interwoven.  Learning is a dynamic process.  To understand what happens in this process, the attention must always be focused on its complexity and on the total, whole individual involved in the process.”

“If a youngster has been introduced to reading instruction before he is ready, so that his initial experiences are unfavorable, then his attitude toward reading may be unfavorable.  If he is exposed to constant frustration, such as being taught at a level too difficult for him, his resultant feelings of inadequacy may explode in antisocial attitudes or behavior.”

What novel concepts – looking at the whole child and not placing him/her at a level of frustration!

Also in the 1964 proceedings, County Court Judge for the County Court of Philadelphia, Juanita Kidd Stout (who became the first African-American woman to serve as a judge in Pennsylvania), wrote an article called, “Troubled Children and Reading Achievement.”

While some of the verbiage may sound dated (e.g., “delinquency” and the emphasis on the male), she makes many points that are fully appropriate to the current era.

There is general agreement that there must be early identification of the non-reader.  Havighurst (1959) suggests he should be identified no later than the first grade and that failure to help the non-reading six year old may result in a delinquent fifteen year old.  By the time the non-reading male  reaches fourteen or fifteen, he has begun to be aggressive and nothing but heroic measures will prevent descent into truancy and delinquency.”

“The evidence is overwhelming that the inability to read is a substantial factor in the production of delinquency, criminality, unemployment and dependency, all of which are costly monetarily and in terms of human suffering.”

The judge is right on the money and that was written in 1964!

The prisons are loaded with people who were school angry, having never developed fundamental reading, spelling and writing skills and felt the embarrassment and shame that accompany.

Takeaway Point

Not sure how long I will be staying in this mode of nostalgia.  Tonight, I can’t wait to watch the great Citation win the 1948 Belmont and Triple Crown!

What an amazing horse!