Ticklish Ears

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“Teaching About Reading”

I have mixed feelings about this, from Joanne Jacobs:

According to a new report, “What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning,” by the National Council on Teacher Quality, 85 percent of education schools aren’t teaching prospective teachers how to teach reading effectively.

On the one hand, it’s clear to me that students come to college without adequate reading skills. I just wrote about this last week. Many of them have inadequate reading skills, which degrades their entire academic experience.

On the other hand, I managed to teach my daughter how to read without any instruction in how to teach reading. Of course, I’ve only had her as a pupil for 1st and 2nd grade. Her Kindergarten teacher (whom we thought a lot of) may have laid a strong foundation for reading. Still, in two years, we’ve made a lot of progress using OK phonics curricula and modeling of reading behavior (for example, reading is central to our bedtime routine).

As you might expect, the NCTQ study addresses this. The Executive Summary begins:

WHEN SOME CHILDREN ARE LEARNING TO READ, THEY CATCH ON SO QUICKLY THAT IT APPEARS EFFORTLESS. IT DOES NOT SEEM TO MATTER WHAT READING CURRICULUM OR TEACHERS THEY ENCOUNTER, FOR THEY ARRIVE AT SCHOOL ALREADY POSSESSING THE IMPORTANT FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS. FOR OTHER CHILDREN, THOUGH, THE PATH TO LITERACY IS FAR MORE DIFFICULT AND BY NO MEANS ASSURED. IT MATTERS VERY MUCH WHAT CURRICULUM THEIR SCHOOLS USE AND WHO THEIR FIRST TEACHERS ARE.

I guess we had a “catch on quickly.” Lucky us!

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