NQF: Second Question for the Book Study

The authors say the following six beliefs (conventional wisdom) impede change in literacy programs:

  • Not all children can become literate with their peers.
  • We can measure children’s literacy aptitude.
  • Children learn best in homogeneous groups.
  • Reading is a hierarchy of  increasingly complex skills.
  • Some children need slowed-down and more concrete instruction.
  • We should use special teachers to meet the needs of some children.

Which do you consider the easiest to let go?  Which do you consider the hardest to let go?  Why?

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5 Responses to NQF: Second Question for the Book Study

  1. Mindy says:

    We can measure childrens’ literacy aptitudes.

    I think this is the easiest to let go because it is simply impossible to measure anyone’s aptitude. We can not predict when the light bulb will come on for some of our students and it is unfair to predetermine what they will be capable of. With the right programs, teacher training and open minds, much can be accomplished.

  2. Sherry says:

    The easiest for me to let go is that not all children can become literate with their peers – as long as it is determined that there are varying degrees of literacy. If we engage children in listening, speaking, reading and writing skills with a group of children performing at different levels, they are able to interact and grow in some if not all areas.
    The most difficult to let go is that some children need slowed-down and more concrete instruction combined with the fact that to provide this instruction the students should be grouped homogeneously (at least in a flexible fashion) in order to provide more explicit instruction and remediation if a skill needs more attention.
    I don’t understand how we can NOT group children homogeneously at some point if we are using assessments to drive instruction and those assessments don’t place all children on the same level of success with the objective being taught. I think this takes place in math as well as language development. At what point to I tell students not to use manipulatives or at what point to I tell children they can move on to abstract thinking. To instruct again, I would definitely group children homogeneously in order to ensure success.

  3. Julie says:

    Not all children can become literate with their peers:

    let it go, let it go…poof, gone. I didn’t think this way anyhow….

  4. jpoletti says:

    “Reading is a hierarchy of increasingly complex skills.”

    This is probably true, but deconstructing the act of purposeful reading and teaching subsets of skills in isolation is not the answer to teaching reading.

    Time spent reading (and writing) is the best predictor of literacy success. Much of the “increasingly complex skills”–usually associated with mechanics–can be covered in the context of reading/writing…and can even be customized to the individual student.

    Would that we could focus more on the complexity of how words and pictures printed in ink on pages can enter through our eyes, dance in our minds, and merge with our own experiences and imagination.

    This is the hard work of reading–especially when compared to the passivity of TV viewing. But the whole experience or reading is at once magical and enriching.

    The same cannot be said of a worksheet on capitalization.

  5. Joy says:

    Easy to let go…not all children can become literate with their peers. Laura’s comment to question 1 is an example of why this one needs to go. The students are wired to learn. We just have to match up the right program to what they need. When we believe not all children can become literate with their peers then we are giving ourselves an excuse for failure to attempt to meet their needs.

    Hard to let go… we should use special teachers to meet the needs of some children. Hey, I love my job! But I do understand how this mindset could lead to fragmented programs as well as teachers passing the responsibility for a student to someone else.
    My husband as well as parents ask, “If they are coming to you, aren’t they missing valuable classtime from the regular classroom?” If the answer to this question is, “No, not really.” Then we owe it to the student and ourselves to examine classroom practices. If the answer is, “Yes, they are.” Then we owe it to the student and ourselves to examine classroom practices. Hmm… maybe we are on the right track with this study.

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