Over the years, I’ve been a bit of a hoarder. Like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to this habit.

One advantage (not that my wife agrees) is that I have held on to different journals that were in the dustbins of Temple University’s renowned Reading Clinic, which at one time was one of the leading clinics in the country.

Attempting to declutter I started going through some of these journals and found many articles written by some of the top theorists and researchers in the field from 40, 50 and 60 years ago.

Skimming through them it was stunning how many brilliant nuggets are still very relevant  to the present day.

One that caught my eye  was an article by the late, brilliant, learning dishabilles pioneer Dr. Jeanette Jansky,  called  “The Marginally Ready Child.”

In the opening of the piece, Dr. Jansky refers to kindergarten and first grade children who do not get anyone’s attention and are only “marginally ready.”

Then Dr. Jansky pivots to talk about what happens to this type of  child some years later.

In our diagnostic and remedial practice we also meet children for the first time during their middle school years, when they are eleven, twelve and thirteen years of age.  They come with the complaint that they are close to failing in a number of school subjects.  Although they had learned to read at the expected time, they did not read easily, they did not enjoy it and their very mediocre academic performance never rose to the expectation raised by their often superior level of intelligence.

As the article continues,  “…I believe the marginally ready child slips past us all too often; he ‘sort of’ learns to read, gradually slides down, and becomes a middle schooler.”

“…By the time these children are nine or ten their problems have become as severe as those of a youngster whose early deficits were more obvious.”

“Very important to success of early intervention efforts is working with parents.  They need to learn about normal developmental differences between children and how their school deals with them.” 

“Parent’s anxiety about departing from the classical educational timetable is keen and we must recognize and help them with it.  Doing so is a matter of firmly establishing and fully interpreting school policy, not of holding a single meeting.”

Takeaway Point

Love the concept of the “marginally ready” child and how this shows up very early on and persists through the grades.

Looks like I’m not dumping stuff out too soon.

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Questions or comments email Dr. Selznick:  rselznick615@gmail.com