Monday, February 12, 2007

Reading First: Cautions and Recommendations

It was surprising to know that something as important as a reading first program would be based on research that was not actually researched. This is because schools and teachers that were implementing or restructuring the order in which they handled their classes were changing their methods because of what these new reports were saying. The reports on which these findings were based said to have improved the methods for teaching, but were actually not based on facts or adequate for all children and their levels. It seems that these reports did not understand what reading consists of because they only wanted to focus on one or two methods of learning. The reports tried to greatly emphasize the importance of phonics and stressed that children needed to know what sounds were and how they were useful before they learned to do any reading. Other aspects like silent reading were not given importance because they did not feel it would do much when teaching children to read.

Although it is important for children to experience the different methods available when learning to read because not all children learn in the same manner and one method might work for one and not for another. If teachers are conducting their lessons through a set script then it is difficult to integrate other reading and writing exercises that might be just as effective if not better. If a student does not understand how to apply a method then there are not many other options available especially when the lessons are not given sufficient amount of time.


Michele R said...

I totally agree with you in that not all children learn in the same manner and the teaching method proposed in this article is way too one-sided. Teachers should have the authority to implement different teaching strategies in their classrooms based on the needs of their students. This is not to say that there doesn't need to be some structure in what is taught and how, because let's face it everyone has probably had at least one teacher whose teaching methods seemed out-there or more than a bit ineffective. Teaching should never be approached as a one-size-fits-all sort of thing and there should be guidelines, yes, but there should be more than one approved method for teaching. I would love to see children evaluated on how they learn best and then placed in classrooms which focus on that type of learning, but it would probably be considered too expensive to implement. The only way that I can think of that it might be approved is if the school system changed elementary teaching into periods like they do for high school. Which if you think about it might actually be a better way to teach than having one teacher for all subjects because then the teachers could specialize in whatever they taught and classrooms could then be geared to specified, rather than broad, types of learning.

SC said...

I like Michele's response -- there are different ways of setting up our educational system. I can think of social reasons why you would keep very young children with the same teacher all day, but it is true that a weakness of that system is that it's hard for teachers to specialize, so they tend to rely on programs and textbooks more than secondary teachers do.