professornana (professornana) wrote,

It is all about the benjamins

Oh, Twitter, how well you know me. All I need do is find a hot spot, check in,and there are the links to all sorts of wonderful topics for blogging purposes. Yesterday, it was a link to a blog about needing to change the way kids learn to read. Just go to to see how radical. Let me save you even the effort to click on the link. It is for as new APP for the iPad, "Learn with Homer." It bills itself as a comprehensive literacy program, CCSS aligned, that will ensure you darling 3 and 4 year olds enter kindergarten well ahead of all the other ruffians whose parents did not invest in their child's literacy. The basic app is free. But there are plenty of add-ons which will cost plenty of money. What are they? A lot of phonics lessons for one. THIRTY, count them, 30 downloadable lessons that include mazes,puzzles, and online books. What is free? Mostly public domain stuff. Click on a nursery rhyme and it is sung to you. I selected Star Light, Star Bright. After the song (song?) I was asked to either draw something, record something, or move on to the next selection. Not sure what I "learned" there at all. Unlike most of the book apps IO recommend, the words were not read but sung, they were not highlighted as read either. Not sure I saw the point at all. I plan to explore this more as I am interested in seeing the "lessons" for the very young.

And therein is the crux of my rant for today: lessons for the very young. Sorry, kiddos, childhood is over. Hit the books, sound out the letters, learn your phonemes. No more lollygagging in K or even Pre-K. There is a wonderful scene in UNCLE BUCK where John Candy tells an incredibly stiff teacher that he does not want to know a kid who is not a daydreamer. I feel the same way. Can't we just let them come to us, read a book, answer their questions? Allow them to twaddle, lollygag, daydream, wonder, and just BE? I taught 4 year olds the last year of my undergrad work to meet tuition payments. Oh, how I loved them. Open, eager, asking all manner of questions. They were like sponges drinking in words and so much more,

A final note about this wonderful "new" program that will revolutionize the way we teach kids to read before they even get to school. It raised $2.2 million in venture capital seed money. It is headed by someone who worked with David Coleman on CCSS. The Board of Directors/Advisors has only one person with teaching credentials (and she has been out of the classroom for 40 years) that I can see. There are CEOs and budget directors, accountants, and reps from the usual suspects (Gates is represented, of course). The founder claims that there was no quality in contemporary "packages" and so she went back to the old school books which were just right. Sigh. Remember when Madonna said she had to write books for kids because there were not any good ones out there? Holy Hypocrisy, Batman!

And so, all the iPad parents out there who are deathly afraid their kids will be left behind, will begin to download what is, in essence, worksheets on the tablet. Poor kids. For the same cost (free), they could go to the library and not only check out real books but even perhaps hear a storytime or two. To paraphrase, Pink Floyd, "Hey, parents, leave the kids alone." If not, they will become just another brick in the wall.

Parents looking for ways to help kids learn to love books: all you need is love and books. Love and books is all you need. I love books. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
Tags: apps, books, reading, teaching
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