I became interested in reading instruction while teaching in a small
high school in Western New York in 1955. I graduated from a liberal
arts college, where I majored in philosophy and psychology, and took only one
"education" course, Tests & Measurements, and did not do any
"student teaching". On my first day in a classroom, I called on a
young man to read aloud. When he refused, I kept him after school and found to
my amazement that the 15-year-old boy could not read. I could not help him, and in
fact, no one in the system could help him. He quit school the next year.
In 1965 I entered a doctoral program in the Department of
Psychology at Syracuse University as an NDEA Fellow and began to study and
research the reading process. The basic research, involving a computer analysis
of present day American English, was conducted with two associates, Drs. Percy
Peckham and Don Nix, while I was teaching in the College of Education at the
University of Washington from 1968-1972. Since moving to West Virginia, my
family, and a few graduate students and I have been developing, testing, and
revising instructional materials based on the computer analysis of the language.