"If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted." ~SIR FRANCIS BACON 1561-1626~

About Supported by Science

Read Right

On this page you’ll find a few of the scientific findings Dr. Dee used to create Read Right methodology. Historical and newer references are included. 

Read Right’s “Brain Systems Theory” of Reading Development Will Settle the Long, Drawn-Out Reading Wars

The “Reading Wars” is an historical debate about the best way to teach reading. Since the late 1990s, the “war’s” two sides advocate for teaching reading through “Five Basic Skills” vs. a philosophy that efficient reading and comprehension skills must be developed with whole text (thus, the name “Whole Language.”) In the year 2000, the Report of the National Reading Panel was used to tip education science in the direction of explicit, systematic teaching in the five separately taught skills: phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. However, sound science and data to be presented indicate both sides are wrong.

As a result of the shift to the “Five Basic Skills,” most early reading instruction today (K-3) only focuses on the explicit, declarative aspects of reading. Every process we learn to perform (talking, walking, reading, and more) also requires implicit procedural learning — or, internal trial and error (experimentation) performed continuously until a desired end result is achieved. 

  • Piaget J. (1950): The Psychology of Intelligence. Translated from French: Percy M and Berlyne DE. London: Routledge.
  • Inhelder B. and Piaget J. (1964): The Early Growth of Logic in the Child. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Peter E. Turkeltaub, Jill Weisberg, D. Lynn Flowers, Debi Basu, and Guinevere F. Eden, The Neurobiological Basis of Reading: A Special Case of Skill Acquisition, University Medical Center, Georgetown University, 4000 Reservoir Road, Building D. Suite 150, Washington District of Columbia 20057, USA. Available online.

IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: “Procedural learning occurs implicitly, and can be contrasted with declarative learning, which requires conscious awareness of that which is being learned.” — in The Connections Between Language and Reading Disabilities, edited by Catts & Camhi, Psychology Press, 2005.

Read Right Harnesses Strategies Used by Self-Taught Readers

Every year throughout the world, a few young children start Kindergarten already reading above grade level. Called “precocious readers,” they are a mystery to most reading experts — but not to Dr. Dee, founder of Read Right methodology.

  • Precocious readers are children who learn to read prior to entering kindergarten or first grade, and are able to read aloud fluently and comprehend more like children who are at least two or three years older than themselves (Stroebel & Evans, 1988), in psychologytoday.com.
  • Durkin D. (1966): Children Who Read Early. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.
  • Dr. Dee outlines the neural activities precocious readers perform in Read Right: Coaching Your Child to Excellence in Reading, by Dee Tadlock, Ph.D., with Rhonda Stone, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

On Brain Plasticity

The human brain’s natural plasticity — or, our ability to improve brain function through implicit procedural learning — makes it possible to improve performance at any age, as long as sufficient intent exists and severe brain damage is not present. Notably, the reading field has struggled to make this happen easily and efficiently for struggling readers. Dr. Dee has figured it out, as evidenced by the success of Read Right methodology. 

  • Allman WF (1989): Apprentices of Wonder: Inside the Neural Network Revolution. New York: Bantam Books
  • Johnson G (1992): In the Palaces of Memory. New York: Vintage Books
  • Ratey JJ (2001): A User’s Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books
  • Schwartz JM and Begley S: (2002). The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. New York: Regan Books/Harper Collins
  • LeDoux J (2002): Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are. New York: Penguin

On Neural Activation Patterns for Individual Word Identification vs. Meaning-Filled Sentences

The problem with the National Reading Panel’s 2000 recommendations for early reading instruction (the five skills theory: phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension) is that the panel relied on neuro-imaging focused on individual words on word lists. Later neuro-imaging research found that the human brain processes individual words and meaning-filled sentences in surprisingly different ways. 

  • Carpenter PA, Just MA, Keller TA, Eddy WF, Thulborn KR (1999): Time course of fMRI-activation in language and spacial networks during sentence comprehension. Neuroimage 10:216-224.
  • Keller TA, Carpenter P.A, and Just MA (2001): The Neural Bases of Sentence Comprehension: A fMRI Examination of Syntactic and Lexical Processing. Cerebral Cortex 11 (3): 223-37.
  • Price CJ, Winterburn D, Giraud AL, Moore CJ, Noppeney U (2003): Cortical Localization of the Visual and Auditory Word Form Areas: A Reconsideration of the Evidence. Brain and Language 86 (2): 272-86.
  • Price CJ and Devlin JT (2003): The Myth of the Visual Word Form Area. NeuroImage 19, Comments and Controversies, (473-81).
  • Vandenberghe R, Nobre AC, Price CJ (2002). The Response of Left Temporal Cortex to Sentences. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 14: 550-60.
  • Constable RT, Pugh KR, Berroya E, Mencl WE, Westerveld M, Ni W, Shankweiler D (2004): Sentence complexity and input modality effects in sentence comprehension: an fMRI study. Neuroimage 22 (1): 11-21.
  • Lee D and Newman SD (2009): The Effect of Presentation Paradigm on Syntactic Processing: An Event-Related fMRI Study. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

On Anticipatory Sets

“Anticipation” is an essential function of reading excellence. Word-by-word readers cannot “anticipate” an author’s message because the visual and cognitive focus is limited to the identification of single words. This interferes with comprehension because it limits neural activation to one dominant brain region. Anticipation triggers simultaneous activation in multiple brain regions, thus supporting complex neural processing. 

  • As early as 1923, C.T. Gray used photography to identify the reality that neural processing for individual words is far less successful than the use of anticipatory systems to correctly predict an author’s message. His original article is available online.
  • Lavigne F, Lavigne P (2000): “Anticipatory Semantic Processes,” International Journal of Computing Anticipatory Systems, Volume 7.
  • Anticipatory Set, definition:
    A collection of elements assembled to function as a unit to enable a prediction, or anticipation to occur. In the case of reading, the prediction is relative to the author’s intended message.

On Back-Propagation

The human brain builds neural networks to guide every process we perform (including reading) through an essential process of: attempt, fail, assess the attempt, make an adjustment, and try again. Each attempt provides a new lesson for the implicitly functioning brain. With the proper goal (e.g., excellent reading) and guidance (e.g., highly structured Read Right tutoring), struggling readers can rapidly improve in reading ability.

  • “Back-propagation is the central mechanism by which neural networks learn. It is the messenger telling the network whether or not the net made a mistake when it made a prediction.” In A Beginner’s Guide to Back-propagation in Neural Networks by Chris Nicholson, CEO, Pathmind.  Available online.
  • Rumelhart, D. E., Hinton, G. E. & Williams, R. J. in Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition. Vol. 1: Foundations (eds Rumelhart, D. E. & McClelland, J. L.) 318-362 (MIT, Cambridge, 1986).
  • Back-Propagation, definition:
    An error is calculated at the output and distributed back through the network layers. In other words, the brain adjusts the network based on the output of errors.

Read Right has done so much for me. I struggled with reading until high school, when Read Right tutors started working with me. They helped me become a much better reader and I was so grateful. When I started having my own children, I didn't want them to struggle the way I did, so I decided to follow Read Right founder Dr. Dee Tadlock's book, Read Right! Coaching Your Child to Excellence in Reading (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005), for their reading development. Wow!! What a difference!! My son started reading at age 5, before he started kindergarten! A year later, he is reading second grade books. We're following her instructions for our 3-year-old and he's catching on. Read Right is life changing.

— Kate N., Parent, Olympia, WA —