From the Publisher

There is about one billion adult illiterates in the world, but teaching them basic literacy often turns out to be harder than expected. Adult literacy programs in developing countries often have low efficiency and rather limited outcomes. To improve outcomes, much emphasis has been given on empowering nongovernmental organizations, increasing learner motivation, and reinforcing social benefits. However, the mechanisms that make it possible for the brain to perceive and interpret written patterns in a few milliseconds have received little attention. There is considerable research in this area, often carried out in developed countries to understand dyslexia or to map brain functions. That has not yet been put into use by the adult literacy community. This book summarizes the pertinent research using layman terms and attempts to apply it to the acquisition of adult literacy. What do people learning a new script need in order to understand a text? Perhaps the most important requirement is time. The working memory, which serves as a storage of material being read lasts only about 12 seconds and holds about seven items. If people read slowly and laboriously, by the end of the sentence, they may forget the beginning. To overcome the limitations of human memory, reading must become automatic, fast and effortless. To understand a text, people must read at least a word per second with at least 90% accuracy. The challenge is how to achieve this performance level in literacy classes that last a few months. This book presents issues and ideas on designing adult literacy programs that support human memory functions as understood in 2003.
Published: World Bank Publications on
ISBN: 9780821354346
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