"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In Pursuit of a Rainbow

Reading Rainbow has been off the air for a couple of years...I think it succumbed to the National Reading Panel's misleading information about what was important in reading...

Now, with the Common Core Standards reducing the amount of literature children read (not that non-fiction is not important...) the focus on building a desire to read seems to be less and less of a priority.

In 'Reading Rainbow' Reaches Its Final Chapter NPR sells Levar Burton's new Reading Rainbow App for iPad.

This is not necessarily bad...though with a $10 a month price tag (or $29 for 6 months) it's beyond the reach of many parents, unlike the free, publicly supported original series.

One of my main goals as a teacher was to help children learn to read...and learn to enjoy reading. That's why reading aloud was always so important to me...that's why I jumped at the chance to read aloud to a couple of classes where I volunteer.

Reading aloud gives students an incentive to learn to read, it stirs their imagination...it makes kids want to read. Jim Trelease...
In 1985, the commission issued its report, Becoming a Nation of Readers. Among its primary findings, two simple declarations rang loud and clear:

“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

The commission found conclusive evidence to support reading aloud not only in the home but also in the classroom: “It is a practice that should continue throughout the grades.”

In its wording—“the single most important activity”—the experts were saying reading aloud was more important than worksheets, homework, assessments, book reports, and flashcards. One of the cheapest, simplest, and oldest tools of teaching was being promoted as a better teaching tool than anything else in the home or classroom. What exactly is so powerful about something so simple you don’t even need a high school diploma in order to do it and how exactly does a person get better at reading? It boils down to a simple, two-part formula:

The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it.

The more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow.
So shows like Reading Rainbow were are essential in helping children learn to love reading...and this post is simply a lament that it's gone...along with the joy of learning that No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have sucked out of school.

Cheers to Levar Burton for finding another way to reach new learners (and hoping that he's not just in it for the money). Cheers to all the teachers in America who are trying to instill that love of reading and the concept of story in their students despite the crushing weight of the 'reformers' trying to destroy their work.


Stop the Testing Insanity!


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