In response to:
Basic Richards from the May 8, 1969 issue
To the Editors:
Mr. Harding is puzzled. Design for Escape [NYR, May 8] is so alarmed and yet so optimistic. That comes from the observable power of the remedies there prescribed. The chief of these is hardly the use of Basic but the mental and moral potential that can be developed in learners in and through well-designed procedures for teaching them to read and teaching them beginning English. In Coleridge’s phrasing “modes of intellectual energy” can thus be generated enabling them “to think wisely and well.” No doubt many whose English is dazzling think foolishly and ill. The argument of the book is that if they had been taught to read by more instructive means, it would probably be otherwise. Lastly the transition from the bent-wire game to conduct in reading was not “a skid.” It was part of some reflexions on the metaphors in “point of view.” These positions are, I expect, more closely articulated than I yet know.
September 11, 1969