Sunday, March 24, 2013

Analyzing Lit. for the Common Core

The Huffington Post has a column here by a teacher in a private school explaining how great it is to teach students how to analyze works of literature and non-fiction, so they can do well on the common core exams.  Sigh.  So many of these goody-goody columns supporting the common core standards.  I wonder if there is a conspiracy.

I taught high school English for 37 years, and saw evidence every day for the conclusions of Professor Stephen Krashen, a UCLA researcher.  He concludes that teaching skills is just testing skills.  Kids develop advanced reading skills through wide, self-selected reading.

My avid readers could analyze anything I asked them to.  No matter how many dog and pony shows I dragged my mediocre readers through, they didn't gain skills that spilled over to their other reading.  

Dragging this next generation of students through teacher-selected "good" books is just going to turn off another whole generation to reading.  Reading scores will stay stagnant. 

If we want to develop a country of students with sophisticated reading skills, we need to help students acquire a love and habit of reading.  There isn't any shortcut.  Mr. Chiger may win a few battles by teaching students how to pick apart a selected work, but he will most assuredly lose the war.

1 comment: