Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Frank Smith

American Psycholinguist, Reporter, Editor, Novelist, Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Author of "Insult to Intelligence"

"Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety."

"We underrate our brains and our intelligence. Education has become such a complicated and overregulated activity that learning is regarded as something difficult that the brain would rather not do... But reluctance to learning cannot be attributed to the brain. Learning is one of the brain's primary functions, its constant concern, and we become restless and frustrated if there is no learning to be done. We are all capable of high and unsuspected learning accomplishments without effort."

"To see what students learn in school, look at how they leave school. If they leave thinking that reading and writing are difficult and pointless, that mathematics is confusing, that history is irrelevant, and that art is a bore, then that is what they have been taught. People learn what is demonstrated to them, and this reality will not change to suit the convenience of politicians and educations administrators."

"Two kinds of reading can be distinguished. I call them reading like a reader and reading like a writer … when you read like a reader, you identify with the characters in the story. The story is what you learn about. When you read like a writer, you identify with the author and learn about writing."

"Reading and writing don’t inevitably go together. You can read without learning a thing about writing, grammar, or spelling, although, you certainly can’t learn anything about writing, grammar, or spelling unless you read."