As a classroom teacher I often found myself dwelling in the minutiae of reading instruction – small groups, centers, checklists, notebooks, grades. My students did absorb some of the joy of reading that is so vital, but, sadly, never enough.
Too many details to attend to. Both as a teacher, and as students, too.
It was a gift when I was able to serve as a reading specialist for the last ten years of my career. Time to focus on reading as thinking, and strategies, and rich literature. Learning how to spread this joy to students. Ways to help teachers be able to use all this – and more.
Balanced literacy was the guiding light for our system to bring real reading experiences into our classrooms and into the minds and hearts of our students.
The tragedy came when a new director of schools came and enforced his backward-thinking regulations into our schools and tried to take so much of that joy away.
Those of us who believed in doing the right thing and couldn’t let our students slip back into a reading routine that couldn’t be internalized carried on. Quietly, but with conviction. Supportive, but with determination.
So many excellent teachers in my school kept the faith. It was my joy to help them carry on.
After my retirement, a new reading “coach” was hired. Lacking background, data driven, and absorbed with a demanding personal life. Concerned about keeping her position. Not much support for the teachers who wanted more than the basal party line. But I was gone from there, and there was little I could do.
And so … my heart sang when I received this text from a teacher who still “carries on” :
I think of you when we read those rich literature stories- scarlet stocking spy, train to somewhere, swamp 😇… better than the basal!!!!
Bless her! How fortunate her students are.
How this message made me smile.