professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Does the emperor even have clothes?

Sometimes I worry that we keep fighting the same battles over and over. Many of us talk about the pendulum in education. The pendulum swings one way and we focus on phonics and little else. Then, it swings again, and we move to other approaches. Lately, though, it seems that the pendulum has come to a halt. Whole language, workshop, independent reading, reading aloud, and so many other components of a literate environment seem to be either forbidden or ignored or frowned upon.

I had an email last week about an elementary librarian being told to stop reading aloud except to the younger classes. No more reading aloud to hird graders: they should be reading on their own. How else will they ever be ready for the test. I sigh. Then, I write back and provide links to the research about reading aloud, especially reading aloud beyond that magic third grade barrier.

I see this headline in the latest NCLE Smart Brief (and seriously, I am thinking the title of the brief is rather ironic or perhaps an oxymoron of late): "Reading and writing aren't just for the English Department ". I want to sigh again but I resort instead to deep breathing. Yes, reading and writing are skills kids need in many other classes. Why do we need to keep coming back to this? It is the job of every single teacher to demonstrate, model, instruct students about reading and writing within his or her particular discipline.

Then there was an email from a colleague who has a leader in her district who is challenging staff development about using reading and writing workshop in the classroom. The teacher called it misguided. Deep breathing again and a short break from email so I could ponder how to respond professionally.

Maybe the emperor is naked and will remain without clothing?

And then I read the follow up news stories from this weekend's North Texas Teen Book Fest. More than 3500 kids were in attendance. They bought bags of books. They stood in lines for autographs. On. The. First. Day. Of, Their. Spring. Break.

Okay, maybe we can dismiss the emperor and just concentrate on making sure these kids get all the books they want and need. After all, I wrote a book about Naked Reading.
Tags: naked reading
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