Sold a Story

There's an idea about how children learn to read that's 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 podcast, 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.

21:42:57 2022-11-17
Lucy Calkins says she has learned from the science of reading. She’s revised her materials. Fountas and Pinnell have not revised theirs. Their publisher, Heinemann, is still selling some products that contain debunked practices. Parents, teache...
21:47:22 2022-11-10
Teachers call books published by Heinemann their “bibles.” The company’s products are in schools all over the country. Some of those products are rooted in a debunked idea about how children learn to read. But they’ve made the company and...
21:33:18 2022-11-03
Teachers sing songs about Teachers College Columbia professor Lucy Calkins. She’s one of the most influential people in American elementary education today. Her admirers call her books bibles. Why didn't she know that scientific research co...
21:41:09 2022-10-27
President George W. Bush made improving reading instruction a priority. He got Congress to provide money to schools that used reading programs supported by scientific research. But backers of Marie Clay’s cueing idea saw Bush’s Reading First ...
21:51:41 2022-10-20
Sixty years ago, Marie Clay developed a way to teach reading she said would help kids who were falling behind. They’d catch up and never need help again. Today, her program remains popular and her theory about how people read is at the root of ...
21:32:47 2022-10-20
Corinne Adams watches her son’s lessons during Zoom school and discovers a dismaying truth: He can’t read. Little Charlie isn’t the only one. Sixty-five percent of fourth graders are not proficient readers. Kids need to learn specific skill...
21:02:54 2022-10-13
Sold a Story is a six-part series beginning with two episodes on October 20. More: soldastory.org