Re: Word-spotting baboons leave scientists spellbound: Reading baboons may shed light on human learning
This kind of article can be, like the ‘cna yuo raed tihs’ simplification, can lead the general population into a dangerously trivialized view of reading.” There is an incomparable difference between the way hearing able children learn to read (alphabetic writing systems in general and orthographically messy ones like English in particular) and learning to recognize words as wholes on sight.
Good Readers Read Wholes They Learned To Recognize Phonically
How many never before encountered words are these primates able to learn to recognize (not to mention understand) solely through cues from the word’s letters? That’s what kids need to do if we don’t want them crashing into the ceiling that accompanies sight word only reading.
Further reading: What is Reading? Reading Archive
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I had a similar concern that somehow the fact that baboons can recognize various shape configurations would be interpreted as “reading!” I wonder if the scientists tried a similar experiment with various alternative “code” representations — say, in Arabic or Chinese or the kinds of shapes used for WISC coding patterns.
I suspect that the animals have be rewarded for familiarity with repeated visual patterns instead of “reading words” as the researchers have concluded. Remember when one of the ways of teaching reading was to outline the shapes around word patterns? This reminds me of those ideas of what constitutes “reading” — and of course, the recognition of word shapes is a long way from processing the sounds into word units, phrases, sentences and linking with prior reading and known content/context. God help us if the state of reading instruction could be changed by how well baboons recognize letter patterns!