Weekend Reading: good writing, bad reading, and a hermit

Weekend Reading is a weekly collation of 3-5 articles that have caught my attention, published on Saturday mornings. Previous editions can be found here.

1. Where writers write when they can’t write where they like to write (Nieman Storyboard)

Pearson finished all of the writing on his book before the pandemic hit. Now he’s working on edits, and trying to get future freelance assignments lined up. He does that from his kitchen table, often while watching his 3-year-old and 8-month-old. His wife, an attorney, also is working from home now.

They both work whenever they can. Their older child still spends three hours in her room for quiet time during the day, and if they can get the baby to take a nap during that time, well, that’s golden.

2.  At a Loss for Words: How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers (APM Reports)

Woodworth had stumbled on to American education’s own little secret about reading: Elementary schools across the country are teaching children to be poor readers — and educators may not even know it.

For decades, reading instruction in American schools has been rooted in a flawed theory about how reading works, a theory that was debunked decades ago by cognitive scientists, yet remains deeply embedded in teaching practices and curriculum materials. As a result, the strategies that struggling readers use to get by — memorizing words, using context to guess words, skipping words they don’t know — are the strategies that many beginning readers are taught in school. This makes it harder for many kids to learn how to read, and children who don’t get off to a good start in reading find it difficult to ever master the process.

3. Into the woods: how one man survived alone in the wilderness for 27 years (The Guardian)

His final gesture, leaving his keys in the car, was particularly strange. Knight was raised with a keen appreciation of the value of money, and the car was the most expensive item he had ever purchased. Why not hold on to the keys as a safety net? What if he didn’t like camping out?

“The car was of no use to me. It had just about zero gas and I was miles and miles from any gas station,” he said. As far as anyone knows, the car is still there, half-swallowed by the forest. Knight said that he didn’t really know why he left. He had given the question plenty of thought but had never arrived at a specific answer. “It’s a mystery,” he declared.