Mary Suarez
via Internet

Pleasure Reading
I enjoyed the article on the Texas Reading Institute. ["Why Johnny Might Someday Be Able to Read," by Shaila Dewan, May 14]. The article was well written. Last summer, my son attended the Texas Reading Institute and made years of progress in just one month, and he continues to make progress with the maintenance plan they have him on. Thank you for an article that I believe will open many eyes and help many children.

Cindy Douglas
via Internet

Lott of Praise
I enjoyed the story regarding Mr. Bergman and his quest to get to the bottom of poor reading ability in children. His ability to influence, at least somewhat, the large school system is remarkable considering what he was up against.

You mention Thaddeus Lott in your story, and it occurred to me it has been a while since I heard anything about him. Has he actually retired? One of the sad commentaries on our system was the fact that his impact on the kids at Wesley was not acknowledged the way I thought it should have been ... for example, there was no "fan-out" of his methods to other schools, and it didn't seem that others recognized his importance to the community. I always felt that Houston and Texas somehow never gave him the credit he fully deserved and never followed up with ways to build on the momentum he had created. Is this generally a reasonable assessment?

John Rodriguez
via Internet

Phonemic Feedback
I enjoyed your article about Dr. Eldo Bergman. I agree that phonemic awareness is crucial to reading success. But for some kids, with other issues, such as language, central auditory processing disorders, executive function problems, etc., phonemic awareness is just the first step, albeit a critical one, to becoming a successful reader.

Phonemic awareness alone will not help with their comprehension, short-term memory, higher-level thinking skills or other problems, nor will it translate to a successful, fluent reader. Research is just beginning to look into what kids with multiple learning deficits need. For example, my own nine-year-old daughter had intensive phonemic-awareness training with Lindamood-Bell, but it was apparent to me that there was a whole lot more going on than just phonemic awareness. She is one who requires much more in terms of the number of hours required for phonemic-awareness competency, and even when the phonemic awareness was there, it did not translate into the ability to fluently decode. There are no quick fixes for these kids.

Thank you for your interesting article.
Carol Selassie
Longwood, Florida

Healthy News Dose
I wish to compliment the Press for "A Bitter Pill" [by Brian Wallstin, April 23]. This was the article about alcohol in "alcohol-free" medicines. This is what the alternative press should be. Please do a follow-up in a couple of months.

The article was readable, thorough, long enough, but not too long. There were details necessary to describe a complex reality, but not too many details. First rate.

Doug King

Paving Over Taxpayers
In the "Upping the Ante-Up" article [by Richard Connelly, May 7] on the battle over an HOV lane or a toll road, the writer mentions that Texas is due for a big share of an expected increase in federal highway spending. How is it that this city and this state have so much money to spend on road destruction? Barrels, barricades, detours and bumpy, dusty streets are all over this city, constantly.

And when one project gets finished, it's often a very short time before it gets ripped up again. Part of West Gray was torn up and expanded a couple of years ago, and now it's being torn up again. You can find multiple examples of this throughout the city. Do we just have so much money that we don't care if the work is shoddy; we'll just do it again?

If the roads are being repeatedly dug up for different reasons, why can't there be some coordination to minimize public inconvenience and expense? For instance, roads were torn up in Montrose last year to put in a new sewer line, and city officials said at a civic association meeting that some of them would be torn up again soon for flood-control purposes. This is absurd.

Tina Leimer
via Internet

All for Freeways
It would seem to me that the county, the city, the state and the federal government should look into the idea of having a four-lane freeway (between U.S. 59 and Westheimer). In the morning, three of the lanes could be routed into the city, with one going out, and the processed could be reversed in the evening. Make sure that the property along the route has trees and high walls in place to address pollution and noise. During normal traffic, the road could be two lanes each way. No HOV. No toll. No problem. The additional lanes would save drivers wear and tear on their vehicles, get them home quicker and in a better mood, for not being "stuck" in traffic. This is family oriented, and serves the city best!

Seems like common sense; unfortunately, sense is not always common.
Richard Garcia
via Internet

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