On the Miss Middleton Effect

by Geraldine E. Rodgers



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 20/07/2022

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.25x11
Page Count : 132
ISBN : 9781665565554

About the Book

Miss Middleton’s scores are, indeed, a frozen moment in time which prove the existence in 1913 and 1914 of “automatic” phonic decoding of print as opposed to “conscious” psycholinguistic decoding of print. The scores also prove that automatic decoding does result from the phonic “sound” method to teach reading, since that is how Miss Middleton’s children learned to read. However, the “reading experts” in 1914 and after must have misinterpreted scores like Miss Middleton’s wildly fluctuating scores, which obviously were the result of freely wandering attention, by concluding instead that the scores had “proved” that the “sound” method had failed. The truth is that such low “reading comprehension” scores on “silent reading comprehension” tests for phonic-trained classes suggest the presence of healthy automatic conditioned reflexes in reading. Such scores may result from the Miss Middleton Effect of voluntarily wandering attention while reading automatically. Her children simply did not bother to pay attention to what they were reading automatically, but could have done so if they felt like it. Yet the inferior deaf-mute “sight-word” method forces children’s attention to “meaning” or they cannot read at all. They may therefore score higher on simple “reading comprehension tests”, but far, far worse on spelling and on reading correctly the actual words on the page.

About the Author

As a third-grade teacher. Geraldine E. Rodgers was appalled by the inadequate reading of the children arriving at third grade, after having “learned” to read with the standard sight-word readers. To study the problem, she took a sabbatical leave in 1977 to observe first grades and to test over 900 of the resultant second graders in their own languages on oral reading accuracy. She tested in New Jersey in the United States, and in Holland, Sweden, Germany, Austria and France. For the oral accuracy test, she used, with permission, a portion of a speed test from IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement). She found that two dominant and quite different types of readers, or relative mixtures of the two types, resulted from differences in first-grade methods. She then spent the following thirty years or so researching the history of reading, in the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, Harvard University Library, the University of Chicago Library, the British Library in London, and other libraries and sources. As a result, she has published a three-volume history and five other texts concerning the problem.