a good news text – SOLC 2017 #19

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.

8 thoughts on “a good news text – SOLC 2017 #19

  1. Adrienne says:

    I love that she is resisting by reading non-basal material. A beautiful act of defiance. I can see why it made you smile.

  2. bhamteach says:

    Those of us in the trenches and truly have the heart for teaching, know that real reading is learned through rich literature, not condensed versions of the real thing. So often there seems to be a disconnect between the administration building and the elementary classroom…how to fix that?

  3. I have been in two workshops with Donalyn Miller recently. She is doing so much to help teachers know the research does support us in our desire to guide students toward a live of reading, real reading. A book that I loved reading this year is Who’s Doing the Work? by Burkins and Yaris.

  4. shrontk says:

    It’s so hard to build the passion for reading and writing with children when there are so many demands that drive us to all be cookie cutter teachers. So, sad when we are restricted. I’m sure many of those teachers still carry on with what you taught them as best as they can.

  5. jet197 says:

    You never know what will ignite that spark in a student, but students who have a teacher who is joyously sharing something that she treasures and believes in will go far to finding their joy too. Joy is contagious.

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