Monday, May 20, 2013

Let's Assign Bud, Not Buddy to the Whole Country

Ed Week has a column here advocating that the country adopt not just the academic goals of the Common Core, but a common curriculum as well.  This would save students from the horrible possibility that they might have Charlotte’s Web read aloud to them in second grade, and then transfer schools and have to hear it in third grade as well.  (I’m not making this up.)

Oh my heavens!  Thank heavens I have already retired! This suggestion—that all titles students read be decided by some central committee--will really put the lid on any hope of a significant gain in reading scores.

There is a multitude of research showing that the best readers are the avid readers.  Check the work of Professor Stephen Krashen, of the University of Southern California.  And that has certainly been my experience, during my 37 years of teaching high school English.

We need to help students acquire a love and habit of reading.  In our video culture, this doesn’t happen naturally anymore, for most students.  Unless students already have a rich, independent reading life, assigning them titles to read in class will simply harden their dislike of reading.  And most students simply won’t do the assigned reading.  With the whole country assigned the same book, there will be so many videos of the story, so many “study” notes, so many Internet summaries, that avoiding the text will be the easiest thing in the world.  Most kids won’t read anything.

Read this current English teacher’s take on material developed for the Common Core standards in English:

And I don’t even begin to address the impossibility of ever picking out titles appropriate for the whole country.   

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