Sold a Story

Publisher:
American Public Media

Sold a Story

4.5/5

Critic Rating

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 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.


Critic Reviews

Score: 5

Nat Malkus • The 74 Dec 2, 2022

"In the hands of adept reporter and storyteller Emily Hanford, that deep dive unfolds with crystal clarity, emotional anchors and dramatic cliffhangers to spotlight why many students struggle to read...Hanford and her colleague Christopher Peak deftly stitch together the complete picture...Clear, engaging and, yes, enraging reporting like this can help policymakers, teachers and families ensure that they are not sold a story that might hold their young readers back."

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Score: 4

Ximena Smith • Stuff NZ Nov 19, 2022

"I know this might sound a bit technical and academic, but Hanford makes the content compelling through her tight scripting, which is combined effectively with archival audio, music and interviews with parents, teachers and reading scientists...there still seem to be many proponents of the reading instruction style Hanford criticises, so I think the podcast would have been stronger if it had featured a bit more of those voices."

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Score: 4.5

Natalie Wexler • Forbes Oct 20, 2022

"It’s clear Hanford and Peak have done extensive research, but there’s nothing dry or didactic about the podcast. This latest podcast is a valuable addition to Hanford’s body of work, and I urge anyone with an interest in education—or the state of our democracy—to listen to it. Important as “Sold a Story” and Hanford’s other podcasts on reading are, though, they leave crucial parts of the current mess unexplored. Decoding is crucial, but it’s only one component of literacy—and complex as it is, it’s the simplest to address."

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