professornana (professornana) wrote,

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time to stop and smell the finger paints

This post gave me a headache when I read it: Entitled SETTING CHILDREN UP TO HATE READING, author Nancy Bailey decries yet another "Crisis" being ginned up so that reformers can pull in some more corporate funds. This time the target is Kindergarten. Suddenly, there is a demand that kids entering kindergarten know all their letters and sounds and numbers and even be able to do some reading on their own. WHY? Must we already be worried about colleges and careers and readiness? Is there never to be time for being a child? Must everything be a lesson? Must we always be in a rush? What are the consequences of pushing kids?

I have written about this topic before. I did not attend kindergarten. It did not exist at the school I attended. Did I enter school reading? Sort of. Did I know numbers and letters? Yep. Was it because someone taught me formally? Nope. It was because I had access to books. In my house. Sometimes read aloud. By mom, grandparents, little sisters (who told stories through the pictures), other kids in the neighborhood, babysitters. I went to school loving books and words and reading as I understood it. I even loved the basal readers at the outset because they were new to me. But after a couple of weeks of See Dick. See Jane. See Spot. I was ready to quit first grade. I would dutifully count the pages until I knew I woulod be called upon to read. I would insert a finger to keep that place and then read ahead to see if the story got any better (it never did). I think I might even have made up some other adventures for Dick and Jane and Spot. I sure did not think it was reading, though.

The crucial point made in pushing kids results in this: "No Joy in Reading. Children learn to hate reading. When you assess children too early, currently done in kindergarten with Response to Intervention testing like Dibels, children learn reading is a chore. It becomes something serious—even fearful for a young child." All of the other reasons, results, reactions follow from this. Kill the love of reading, the joy of reading, early on. Then, you have lost the war as you win some sort of "crisis" battle. The Bible quote that keeps coming to mind is this one: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

What will it profit a child if he knows all his letters and sounds and fails to discover the joy, the love of books and reading?
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