Why are the effects of dyslexia so much more limiting for readers of English than for those reading phonetic languages?
Over 40% of people in English-speaking countries are functionally illiterate, and the implications of this startling figure extend beyond the individual. Health care costs of people with low literacy are significantly higher than those with high literacy. Studies have even revealed a link between low literacy and higher rates of imprisonment. The list of social impacts goes on.
Readable English: Why learning to read English is so hard and how to make it easier is a compact book bursting with big ideas. It explains in simple terms just why the English language is so hard to learn to read.
It also describes a revolutionary new system called Readable English, which draws on recent developments in neuroscience and brain plasticity to help everyone learn to read, write and speak English more easily.
People who are interested in the English language or the science of reading will find this book interesting.
Specifically, English language educators will be introduced to a new teaching method and parents of children learning to read, struggling with reading or learning English as a second language will find this book informative and helpful.
The book includes the sound for each of the phonemes in English accompanied by videos and instructions for how to make each of the sounds. It also includes the videos used for teaching Readable English, such as videos that explain to students the complexities of the English language. The program is designed to convince students that any difficulties they face with reading aren’t their fault: the problems are the fault of the language, which Readable English ‘fixes’.
Based on theory and data, I can recommend Readable English in the strongest possible terms. It has the potential to transform the teaching of English.
Emeritus Professor John Sweller
Educational psychologist and creator of cognitive load theory
Chris Stephen—It was my middle sister, Alexandra, who taught me how to read. She was herself an avid bookworm. Literacy was considered extremely important in our family as we had a strong literary heritage, including such people as Henry John Stephen, who wrote Stephen’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, which became the leading legal textbook for over 150 years, and Sir Leslie Stephen, who founded the Dictionary of National Biography. Sir Leslie’s daughter, Virginia Woolf, needs no introduction. In Australia, my cousin Martha Campbell was a major contributor to the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
My interest in literacy turned into an obsession when Alexandra developed multiple sclerosis. As my sister’s illness developed, she lost the ability to read sentences easily and could only manage individual words. I was determined to work out why Alexandra couldn’t read easily anymore, and after much research discovered she had an eye-tracking problem. This meant she had to use a huge amount of mental energy to keep the words she read in the correct order, and didn’t have enough energy left over to decipher the meaning of those words and phrases.
It became my mission to help Alexandra read fluently by reducing the mental effort needed, eventually creating a large print format that enabled her to pursue again one of the few activities she loved. Seeing the positive impact on Alexandra made me understand how important reading is to a person’s quality of life and to never take that ability for granted. I was deeply motivated to try helping others to read as well, and established a business in Sydney in 1998 called ReadHowYouWant.
Initially the business focused on developing accessible publishing technology that could quickly and accurately convert PDF books into a large number of accessible formats, including braille, DAISY (digital talking books), different text sizes and other reader-designed preferences. This technology has enabled Alexandra and thousands of others to read with ease. To date ReadHowYouWant has converted around 30,000 publications into accessible formats for readers in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Early into that other project, fate intervened. I went to a meditation retreat and met a reading specialist working in San Francisco. Ann and I shared a passion for helping people who were struggling to read, and in 2009 we started exploring the Readable English idea together. Our unlikely meeting turned into a creative collaboration, and then into a personal relationship.
“One of the most important books I’ve ever read—an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates
“Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” —Melinda Gates
"Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." - Former U.S. President Barack Obama
Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.
When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.
In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).
Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.
It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.
Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.
“This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance...Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.” Hans Rosling, February 2017.
All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.
In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian (who holds degrees in computer science, philosophy, and poetry, and works at the intersection of all three) and Tom Griffiths (a UC Berkeley professor of cognitive science and psychology) show how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.
Dutton argues that there are indeed "functional psychopaths" among us—different from their murderous counterparts—who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more "psychopathic" people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the world's most successful con artists, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath.
As Dutton develops his theory that we all possess psychopathic tendencies, he puts forward the argument that society as a whole is more psychopathic than ever: after all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, ruthless, and focused—qualities that are tailor-made for success in the twenty-first century. Provocative at every turn, The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a riveting adventure that reveals that it's our much-maligned dark side that often conceals the trump cards of success.