From Pragmatic Thinking & Learning, p. 102:
Cna yuo raed tihs?
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are; the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses, and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef but the wrod as a whloe. Azanmig…
Azanmig indeed: I was pretty shocked to find that I could read that paragraph pretty much as fast as I could have if it had been spelled correctly. especially once I relaxed a bit. (Typing it in was another matter…)
Another datum for the “kids new to reading and writing are doing a completely different thing than I am” point of view. (Or is it? It’s related somehow, but I’ll have to think about exactly what it might imply.) I wonder if we should put something like this in the PACT parent ed new parent training, to give people a bit more sympathy for what K-1 kids are going through?
I think I’ve said this here before, but I’ll repeat it: it wasn’t until I started learning Japanese that I really had sympathy for what kids were going through. (My experiences with Greek and Devanagari scripts are far enough in the past to not have a current impact.) I’ve been studying it for a while now, and I still can’t even read Hiragana script with anything like the fluency that I can read Roman: I’m literally unable to misread Roman script in ways that I’m quite capable of misreading Hiragana and that first-graders are quite capable of misreading Roman. But that’s just script-to-sound translation; the above points out that that’s not what’s really going on when fluent readers read…
This post has not been revised since publication.