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This podcast, Sold a Story, was produced by APM Reports and reprinted with permission.

There’s an idea about how children learn to read that’s held sway in schools for more than a generation – even though it was proven wrong by cognitive scientists decades ago. Teaching methods based on this idea can make it harder for children to learn how to read. 

In this new American Public Media podcast, host Emily Hanford investigates the influential authors who promote this idea and the company that sells their work. It’s an exposé of how educators came to believe in something that isn’t true and are now reckoning with the consequences – children harmed, money wasted, an education system upended.

Related: Reading Matters: See more Hechinger coverage of reading instruction

Episode 4: The Superstar

Teachers sing songs about Teachers College Columbia professor Lucy Calkins. She’s one of the most influential people in American elementary education today. Her admirers call her books bibles. Why didn’t she know that scientific research contradicted reading strategies she promoted? (Editor’s note: The Hechinger Report, which republished this podcast, is an independent unit of Teachers College at Columbia University.)

https://play.podtrac.com/APM-SoldaStory/chrt.fm/track/3G835/pdst.fm/e/traffic.megaphone.fm/CAD2713276637.mp3

This podcast was produced by APM Reports and reprinted with permission.

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  1. Thank you so much Emily. As a person who grew up in Georgia I completely understand what episode 4 is talking about. It’s real. It’s a reality even in 2022.

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