How I became a teacher

In 1963, Mary Alyce and I did the same 3 things as all our close friends. We graduated from UC Berkeley (Cal in those days), got married, and moved on to a new life—Mary Alyce as a grad student in a post-baccalaureate MA credential program at Stanford and I as a newly minted member of the management training cadre within Macy’s San Francisco.… Read the rest

Learning to Read… in first grade at Pleasant Prairie Grammar School

I went to a one room schoolhouse in the wide-open spaces of the Sacramento Valley in post-World War II California. In 1947, when I started first grade, all 42 of us-from first graders through eighth graders were taught by Mrs. Millsap, a matronly lady in her early sixties who was driven daily to and from the school by a retired Mr.… Read the rest

Toward a Theory of Reading Comprehension Instruction

Pearson, P. D., & Spiro, R. J. (1980). Toward a theory of reading comprehension instruction. Topics in Language Disorders, 1(1), 71-88.

Rand Spiro and I wrote this piece over a period of a couple of years in 1978-80, building off my earlier accounts of the utility of schema theory and Rand’s characterization of the ways in which Schema Theory was able to explain the typical roadblocks that kids run into when trying to render text meaningful.… Read the rest

Where the P in “P David” comes from

This is the second installment of the name saga…

Fast forward from Grade 1 to my sophomore year in high school. 16th birthday coming up in April of 1957. In the 1950s, turning 16 is a triple witching hour of sorts—have to get a driver’s license, register for Social Security, AND register for Selective Service (the draft for those of you born after 1980).… Read the rest

How I Learned My Real Name…

The first week of first grade was especially hard for me. I was greeted with not one but two surprises, both of which were traumatic for my not very resilient 6-year-old ego.

But first a word about my school—a classic prairie style one room schoolhouse in what were then, just after WWII, the wide open spaces of the Sacramento Valley.… Read the rest

First Big Time Publication of Dissertation Work

Finished the D in 1969 but did not get it published until 1974-75 in Reading Research Quarterly.  That’s a long story that is told in a later piece with Kate Frankel in 2013 or so.

Pearson, P. D. (1974-75).  The effects of grammatical complexity on children’s comprehension, recall and conception of semantic relations. Read the rest

Some Thoughts about Figurative Language

I developed these ideas when I was thinking about writing a second edition of Teaching Reading Comprehension.  Never finished it (at least I had not as of 2018).  My ideas about what kids need to learn about Figurative Language before they leave the K-12 system.Read the rest