professornana (professornana) wrote,

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tail wagging the dog

Everywhere I turn these days, I see them: examples of the tail wagging the dog. The latest is the news that Book Clubs are now issuing a separate list for each grade and all of the books come with levels so that books might be ordered within the appropriate Lexile level. I understand there is pressure for publishers to fall in line with CCSS, I do. But in doing so, in giving in, they are making the lives of teachers even more difficult. ALL publishers are being forced to align or lose business. And so, catalogs of forthcoming books come with lists of standards the books can meet for CCSS, with Lexiles and ATOS levels, and more crap that, frankly, treat teachers with the same disrespect that the other snake oil vendors are electing to use (see previous posts about the apps and other resources of late).

It might be unfair to point out this one iinstance, but those book clubs were a part of my life as a teacher and also as a parent. Often, I would order multiple copies of award winners or titles the kids loved and add them to my classroom library. I ordered books for the kids and grandkids each month as well. I know the power of ownership. Now that joy is gone for me. It is now just another of those bricks in the wall. Ditto for the trade book publishers for listing CCSS and leveling information in their catalogs. What happened to letting teachers help kids pick out the just right books? When did a computer program become better?

I wonder how the authors of books feel about having their work boiled down to a set of numbers (and multiple choice questions) and skills and standards? I wonder what impact all this will have on the growth of the industry? I know the effect it will have on readers. It already is chilling. Better buy some warmer clothes, though, because it is going to be downright frosty before long.

I close with a plea to companies who brig us the terrific books for kids: please, please, please do not give in to the pressure of the "market." Remember that the bottom line in our "business" is not something ephemeral: kids are the bottom line here. The future of lifelong readers is at stake. If we as educators do not have the support of the folks who create and bring these books to kids, we will lose the battle against the mechanization of education.
Tags: books, corporate learning, levels, lexiles, mechanization, reading, selling out

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