I wish I could shout this from the rooftops:
Kids will learn to read (and write) if
they have a knowledgeable teacher
who reads (and writes) for pleasure;
is familiar with appropriate age and grade level books for their students;
knows their students well enough to bring books into the classroom that they will enjoy;
reads aloud to students every day;
sometimes writes with students and shares their writing with the class;
provides individualized instruction at the student’s point of need;
is willing to try anything to support and guide students to become lifelong readers;
encourages students to use multiple strategies for comprehending text;
uses a mix of one-on-one, small group and whole class instruction;
uses a variety of instructional strategies and structures to address curricular objectives and the needs of their current students based on careful and ongoing observation;
realizes that a one size fits all approach benefits no one;
encourages and supports self-selection of books by students for independent reading;
incorporates daily independent reading (and writing) time into the class schedule;
celebrates the books that their students read and encourages students to read widely by sharing books in many genres and styles;
understands that, ultimately, reading (and writing) are ways of thinking;
is willing to address incomplete understanding in their practice by delving into inquiries about tricky problems of teaching they have identified;
recognizes that reading and writing are reciprocal processes;
celebrates students’ approximations when reading and writing and recognizes them as evidence of learning;
has faith that students can and will become joyful, purposeful and strategic readers and writers when exposed to engaging books and processes for responding to what they are reading;
eschews commercial programs and rigid decontextualized approaches to teaching and learning;
accepts that teaching and learning are complex and intertwined processes and there are no easy fixes or replacements for a knowledgeable teacher;
builds relationships with their students and views diversity and difference as assets for learning;
interrogates their own racism in order to become an anti racist teacher;
and understands that there is no magic age by which a child should be reading (and I don’t equate reading with sounding out words without making sense of the words, but you know that already), but rather recognizes the power of reading to change and enrich lives.
Did I shout it loud enough? Impossible to achieve? Maybe not every day and for every child, but we can aspire to be this kind of teacher for all students each and every day.
Will you join me?
Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge.