About the Book

Language at the Speed of Sight

Language at the Speed of Sight

How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done about It
1st Edition
January 2017
Not Yet Published
Hardcover · 320 Pages
$26.99 U.S. · $31.50 CAN · £17.99 U.K. · €19.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780465019328
Basic Books


The way we teach reading is not working, and it cannot continue. We have largely abandoned phonics-based reading instruction, despite research that supports its importance for word recognition. Rather than treating Black English as a valid dialect and recognizing that speaking one dialect can impact the ability to learn to read in another, teachers simply dismiss it as “incorrect English.” And while we press children to develop large vocabularies because we think being a good reader means knowing more words, studies have found that a large vocabulary is only an indication of better pattern recognition.

Understanding the science of reading is more important than ever—for us, and for our children. Seidenberg helps us do so by drawing on cutting-edge research in machine learning, linguistics, and early childhood development. Language at the Speed of Sight offers an erudite and scathing examination of this most human of activities, and concrete proposals for how our society can produce better readers.

About the Author

Mark Seidenberg is Hilldale Professor and Donald O. Hebb Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Wisconsin. He is a cognitive neuroscientist who has studied reading and dyslexia for over three decades. He received a Ph.D. and three other degrees from Columbia University. He has published over a hundred scientific articles and was recently honored as one of the 250 most-cited researchers in the areas of psychology and psychiatry.