Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reforming Reading Instruction




When asked recently to describe the changes needed to reform literacy education in the elementary classroom I offered the following four areas for consideration:

1. THEORETICAL: shift the focus from teaching to learning - too often we focus on how well our mini-lessons go (if they are in fact "mini") and not whether our students have learned anything from these lessons. Round robin reading instruction and other crappy ideas focus on how we teach, not whether students are getting anything from these experiences.

2. PEDAGOGICAL: You cannot teach children to read and write if they are not engaged in the acts of reading and writing. We need a context to teach into. If students are working on a piece of writing or trying to make sense of a text, we can work with them in that context to do things.

3. ASSESSMENT: We have to try and figure out what children can do, want to do, and are trying to do as readers and writers. In order to do this we have to watch them read, listen to them read, and systematically collect information about what they are doing.

4. CURRICULUM: We have to organize our reading and writing curricula into units of study that provide a context for reading and writing particular texts.