Jonathan Sabin’s account of his disastrous year teaching students with reading disabilities (“Hard Lesson,” 6/22) left me astonished at the degree to which he preferred to plod along on his own, even though he admits that he did not feel up to the job. Certainly, this school where he labored must have had a principal and, if not some master teachers, at least someone on the faculty who knew the ropes. Yet Sabin, during his frustrating experience, appears to have sought out advice from no one. All of his frustration and sense of failure seem to have taken place in some kind of isolated bubble instead of an educational institution.
On another point, Sabin’s confessional is filled with colloquies between himself and selected students. These are printed, apparently, to substantiate his notion that “sweet reasonableness” was the way to get through to these verbally handicapped kids. However, Sabin should have realized that the smartass posturing of his quoted nonreaders represented an impossible barrier to any kind of reasonable discussion about their reading deficiencies.