professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Voice and Tone

I flippantly remarked the other day that it might be interesting to compare the voice and tone of the CCSS with the voice and tone of a classroom teacher who is writing about the same basic topic: assisting kids as they move from school time readers to lifelong readers. Well, turns out that the remark stuck with me long enough to do just that.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from the introduction to the English Language Arts and Reading Standards from CCSS:

As a natural outgrowth of meeting the charge to define college and career readiness, the Standards also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace. Students who meet the Standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews.

They reflexively demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence
that is essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic. In short, students who meet the Standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.

Compare the word choice, the tone, and the consideration of audience to this paragraphs from READING IN THE WILD by Donalyn Miller which is also about creating readers beyond the four walls of the classroom:

As one student, Ashley, told me, “It is impossible to be a nonreader in your class, Mrs. Miller.” A few years ago, I would have taken pride in Ashley’s observation, but not now. I want my students to enjoy reading and find it meaningful when they are in my class, but I also want them to understand why reading matters to their lives. A reading workshop classroom provides a temporary scaffold, but eventually, students must have self-efficacy and the tools they need to go it alone. The goal of all reading instruction is independence. If students remain dependent on teachers to remove all obstacles that prevent them from reading, they won’t become independent readers.

The difference is startling. Which would you prefer to read beyond these snippets? If you answered READING IN THE WILD come on over to the Dark Side; we have cookies.
Tags: tone, voice
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