Health        

Something like 60% of poor children donít get medical exams even though theyíre allowed to have them for free...What you find are large numbers of people who canít meet their own health needs or the health needs of their children simply because they canít read the information that they need...  It's something like 40% of hospitalizations are unnecessary and tend to be with low literacy people that really could have been prevented with better information or higher literacy. - Timothy Shanahan, Past-President (2006) International Reading Association; Member, National Reading Panel; Chair, National Reading Panel; Professor and Director, University of Illinois at Chicago Center for LiteracyUnpublished COTC Interview

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CLICK TO GO TO CHAPTER: We Have A Problem: What's At Stake
Health

Return to Index of Topics  -  Notes: 1) This page is a work in progress and does not yet comprehensively cover its topic or include all the COTC and web resources its topic deserves.  2) Bold is used to emphasize our [COTC] sense of importance and does not necessarily reflect gestures or tones of emphasis in the original source. This color indicates COTC edits for brevity or flow. See referenced original for exact quotes.


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Literacy and Longevity

Children who are failing at reading at the end of the first grade are extremely likely to be failing at reading at the end of fourth grade. And failure in reading strongly predicts failure in all other academic subjects. So, a child who is not breaking the code well, who has not figured it out, who is falling behind, is a child whose academic life course is at risk and because of that whose life is at risk because the economic opportunities of life.

Again, at the lower end of the dimension are ones that have profound effects on not only obvious things: quality of life dimensions, how much money one earns, or the neighborhood one lives in, but actually have effects on longevity, on how long you will live.

So, reading again, is absolutely fundamental. Itís almost trite to say that. But in our society, as it is structured, the inability to be fluent is to consign children to failure in school and to consign adults to the lowest strata of job and life opportunities.  

Grover (Russ) Whitehurst, Ex-Director (2002-08), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Source: COTC Interview: http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/whitehurst.htm#allbutFated

Seventy Billion a Year

The American Medical Association has a major effort now to try to support health literacy among their patients because of the increasing costs to the health system for people who don't understand the prescriptions that they're given, they don't understand how to take their medications. They don't understand the diagnoses that are given to them by their doctors and the instructions that are attendant to those diagnoses. It's estimated that we spend over seventy billion a year unnecessarily for people making special trips to the emergency room or extra trips to the doctor because they failed to understand the health issues that they have to deal with in their lives. 

Robert Wedgeworth, Past-President, ProLiteracy Worldwide; Former Executive Director, American Library Association. Source: COTC Interview : http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/wedgeworth.htm#EconomicConsequences

Low Literacy, Civic Participation and Health

Dr. Timothy Shanahan: ...One interesting analysis done with adults who are low in literacy is that low literacy individuals are less likely to read a newspaper than a high literate person. But, of course, these folks could still participate by getting information from television and have radio. Thereís absolutely no reason why a low literacy person wouldnít be able to access a lot of the information that is available over those media. 

Except it turns out that lack of literacy has an isolating effect. What happens is low literacy people are less likely to watch informational shows on television, theyíre less likely to watch news, for example, than other kinds of television.

David Boulton:  How can they navigate?

Dr. Timothy Shanahan:  Exactly. They just donít pay attention to stuff like that which means, they miss out on information about the candidates and elections and so on, but they also miss out on the large amount of health information that is on television news and so on. They donít find out about the free pap smears down at the clinic. They donít find out about the new statistics on smoking. They donít find out about how to take care of their children better. And so their kids are at greater risk in all kinds of ways and they themselves are at greater risk.

Timothy Shanahan, Past-President (2006) International Reading Association; Member, National Reading Panel; Chair, National Reading Panel; Professor and Director, University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Literacy. Source: COTC Interview - http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/shanahan.htm#LowLiteracyCivicParticipationHealth


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Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst  Director, Institute of Education Sciences, Assistant Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Jack Shonkoff Chair, The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child; Co-Editor: From Neurons to Neighborhoods
Dr. Edward Kame'enui Commissioner for Special Education Research, U.S. Department of Education; Director, IDEA, University  of Oregon
Dr. G. Reid Lyon  Past Director, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Dr. Keith Stanovich  Canadian Chair of Cognitive Science, University of Toronto
Dr. Mel Levine Co-Chair and Co-Founder, All Kinds of Minds; Author: A Mind at a Time, The Myth of Laziness & Ready or Not Here Life Comes
Dr. Alex Granzin  School District Psychologist, Past President, Oregon School Psychologists Association 
Dr. James J. Heckman Nobel Laureate, Economic Sciences 2000; Lead Author: The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children
Dr. Timothy Shanahan President (2006) International Reading Association, Chair National Early Literacy Panel, Member National Reading Panel
Nancy Hennessy  President, 2003-2005, International Dyslexia Association
Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams Senior ScientistSoliloquy Learning, Author: Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print
Dr. Michael Merzenich Chair of Otolaryngology, Integrative Neurosciences, UCSF;  Member National Academy of Sciences
Dr. Maryanne Wolf Director, Center for Reading & Language Research; Professor of Child Development, Tufts University
Dr. Todd Risley  Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Alaska, Co-author: Meaningful Differences
Dr. Sally Shaywitz  Neuroscientist, Department of Pediatrics, Yale University, Author: Overcoming Dyslexia
Dr. Louisa Moats  Director, Professional Development and Research Initiatives, Sopris West Educational Services
Dr. Zvia Breznitz Professor, Neuropsychology of Reading & Dyslexia, University of Haifa, Israel 
Rick Lavoie Learning Disabilities Specialist, Creator: How Difficult Can This Be?: The F.A.T. City Workshop & Last One Picked, First One Picked On
Dr.Charles Perfetti Professor, Psychology & Linguistics; Senior Scientist and Associate Director, Learning R&D Center, U. of Pittsburgh, PA
Arthur J. Rolnick Senior V.P. & Dir. of Research,  Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis;  Co- Author: The Economics of Early Childhood Development  
Dr. Richard Venezky  Professor, Educational Studies, Computer and  Information Sciences, and Linguistics, University of Delaware
Dr. Keith Rayner  Distinguished  Professor, University of Massachusetts, Author: Eye Movements in Reading and Information Processing
Dr. Paula Tallal  Professor of Neuroscience, Co-Director of the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University
Dr.John Searle  Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language, University of California-Berkeley, Author: Mind, A Brief Introduction
Dr.Mark T. Greenberg Director, Prevention Research Center, Penn State Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies; CASEL Leadership Team
Dr. Terrence Deacon  Professor of Biological Anthropology and Linguistics at University of California- Berkeley
Chris Doherty  Ex-Program Director, National Reading First Program, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Erik Hanushek Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Dr. Marketa Caravolas Director, Bangor Dyslexia Unit, Bangor University, Author: International Report on Literacy Research
Dr. Christof Koch Professor of Computation and Neural Systems,  Caltech - Author: The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
Dr. Guy Deutscher Professor of Languages and Cultures of Ancient Mesopotamia, Holland; Author: Unfolding Language
Robert Wedgeworth  President, ProLiteracy, World's Largest Literacy Organization
Dr. Peter Leone  Director, National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice
Dr. Thomas Cable  Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin, Co-author: A History of the English Language
Dr. David Abram Cultural Ecologist and Philosopher; Author: The Spell of the Sensuous
Pat Lindamood and Nanci Bell  Principal Scientists, Founders, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes
Dr. Anne Cunningham  Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, Graduate School of Education at University of California-Berkeley
Dr. Donald L. Nathanson  Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Jefferson Medical College, Director of the Silvan S. Tomkins Institute 
Dr.Johanna Drucker  Chair of Media Studies, University of Virginia, Author: The Alphabetic Labyrinth
John H. Fisher  Medievalist, Leading authority on the development of the written English language, Author: The Emergence of Standard English
Dr. Malcolm Richardson   Chair, Dept. of English, Louisiana State University; Research: The Textual Awakening of the English Middle Classes  
James Wendorf  Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities
Leonard Shlain Physician; Best-Selling Author: The Alphabet vs. The Goddess
Robert Sweet  Co-Founder, National Right to Read Foundation

FULL LIST OF OVER 100 COMPLETED INTERVIEWS

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The Children of the Code is a Social Education Project and a Public Television Series intended to catalyze and resource a social-educational transformation in how we think about and, ultimately, teach reading. The Children of the Code is an entertaining educational journey into the challenges our children's brains face when learning to read. The series weaves together archeology, history, linguistics, developmental neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, information theory, reading theory, learning theory, and the personal and social dimensions of illiteracy. 


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