Education: New Readings on Reading

One five-year-old sits on the floor comparing the sounds of rattles filled with sand and BB shot. Another carefully spoons dried beans from a full bowl into an empty one. Four children tell stories to a teacher, who writes them down on a large pad. Sample: "The tiger is under the bed. He is playing rough. The tiger is wild. He is very happy."

Strangely enough, the children are all learning to read at a public school in Merrick, N.Y., on Long Island's South Shore. The rattles are supposed to enhance "reading readiness" by sharpening...

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