"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

Monday, August 1, 2022

Jim Trelease, 1941 – 2022

EVERY DAY SHOULD BE TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY

No.

Today is not Teacher Appreciation Day

Or Teacher Appreciation Week

Although, every day should be teacher appreciation day. It's likely that you wouldn't be reading this if not for teachers.

Teachers help the majority of American children learn how to read.

Someone taught the programmers of this blog application how to code and how to design and construct the device on which you're reading this post.

Someone taught your dentist how to check and repair teeth. Someone taught your veterinarian how to care for animals.

...and so on...

For me, the concept of teacher appreciation brings to mind the most memorable teachers from whom I've learned. One of my elementary school teachers stands out in my mind...several of my high school teachers...and several of my college teachers. My parents, too, as my first, and most important teachers, are important...most important (You parents should remember that you are your child's first, and most important teacher).

There is one person, however, who stands above all the other teachers I've had (aside from my parents) as the man who had the greatest impact on my career as an elementary school teacher...and made an important contribution to my parenting skills.

THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK

In 1979, when I was relatively new to teaching, I ordered a booklet from the Weekly Reader Book Club titled, "Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook for Parents and Teachers."

I had been reading aloud to my students since I started teaching. One of my education school professors had emphasized the importance of reading aloud to our classes, so, from my first class to my last, I tried to make time every day for read aloud. Looking back on my 35 year career I can remember only a handful of times I skipped reading aloud...whether I taught Kindergarten or sixth grade, or something in between, reading aloud was always the most important part of my reading program.

When I saw the pamphlet on reading aloud from the Weekly Reader Book Club I decided that it might be helpful. Thus began my relationship with Jim Trelease's books and research which lasted the more than four decades I spent in elementary school classrooms (as a teacher and volunteer).

I've written about Jim Trelease often on this blog. In 2008 I posted my congratulatory letter to him when he announced his retirement (and I reproduced his response in the comments). In 2017 I wrote a Teacher Appreciation post about him and his Read-Aloud Handbook, now in its eighth edition (the seventh edition is the last one edited by Trelease).


LESSONS FROM JIM TRELEASE

Some of the books listed in the Treasury of Read-Alouds which comprises the second half of the Read-Aloud Handbook might be outdated, but the information about the importance of reading aloud to children and the tips on how to read aloud are still valuable.

There are so many lessons to learn from his book (get a copy of the book!). Here are just two...

Lesson #1 (quoted from the Reading Research Quarterly. See #3, here)
...how exactly does a person become proficient at reading? It’s 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.
Lesson #2 (emphasis added)
The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children...It is a practice that should continue throughout the grades.
The second lesson was also quoted from another source. It came from Becoming a Nation of Readers published some years after the first Read-Aloud Handbook.

JIM TRELEASE, March 23, 1941 – July 28, 2022

Jim Trelease died on Thursday, July 28, 2022. I'm glad I was able to thank him for his help throughout the years I spent in classrooms. I can't imagine what my teaching career would have been like if not for his influence.

My collection of Read-Aloud Handbook editions,
several of which have been signed by the author, Jim Trelease.


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