Offered a Story: How Educating Youngsters to Learn Went So Mistaken – A particular radio presentation

We are pleased to bring you a special radio presentation of the investigative podcast from American Public Media, “Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong.”

Recently, award-winning education reporter Emily Hanford shared shocking statistics with Angela Davis, while being interviewed on her talk show: one in three 4th graders are poor readers, and when it comes to Black children, more than eight in ten children are at or below a basic level. Those statistics are from 2019, before the pandemic, which we now know has brought devastating learning loss for so many children across the board. 

All of this points to critical problems for children, parents and our community that we will be dealing with for years to come. And, that is where the “Sold a Story” podcast makes a vital contribution.

There is an idea about how children learn to read that is held sway in schools for more than a generation — even though it was proven wrong by cognitive scientists decades ago. Teaching methods based on this idea can make it harder for children to learn how to read.

In this three-hour radio version, host Emily Hanford investigates the influential authors who promote this idea and the company that sells their work. It’s an exposé of how educators came to believe in something that isn’t true and are now reckoning with the consequences — children harmed, money wasted, an education system upended.

Listen to a radio presentation of “Sold a Story” on MPR News from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, December 26.

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.

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