Monday, February 28, 2022

A gift for educators and parents - THE GIFT OF READING

What has happened to common sense in our world? I'm not talking about the world pandemic although I could go on at lengths if I thought it would make a difference. I'm not talking about climate change, fires and floods. I'm not talking about the indifference shown toward the thousands of murdered children being located near residential schools. (Excuse me but this horrific crime should be on the front page of every Canadian newspaper every day. The growing number has to be highlighted and shared. Canada's shared humiliation has to be in our collective forefront.) And no, I'm not talking about the last several years south of our border that make Canadians so happy to live here north of there. And finally, the craziness in Ukraine... tragic killings/murders that we witness on a daily basis. No - this post is based on common sense and in it, I will focus on reading. Common sense as I see it: Change will not happen if we keep doing the same thing again and again. In education, we are committed to teaching based on standardized tests whose purpose is clearly to support curriculum. This is how it is. This is how its always been. I am not the first to suggest that we should teach students and not curriculum. There was a brief time that report cards reported on students - not a letters or numbers or other symbols that indicated how well students faired next to the curriculum but rather who teachers believed students to be and reported on their growth. That initiative failed. We turtled back to that safe place of doing what had always been done. We teach "reading" as we did decades and decades ago. Don't look any further than standardized tests that haunt and hurt so many. Numerous academics, educators and parents have voiced objections to this archaic practice. Yet millions invested in training educators on how to administer and work with tests as well as the actual purchasing millions of tests have deep, strong roots. Maria Montessori laid out a clear path to created readers. But this path necessitated change. Education rejected and continues to reject her advice and direction. In our book, The Gift of Reading, Wendy and I lay it all on the table. Clean. Simple. Honest. I will post a series of three short clips outlining Maria's philosophy. Educators and parents - apply this plan in any way you see fit. Even if you pick and choose, you will be doing those under your care a great gift; the Gift of Reading.

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