Saturday, September 20, 2014
We talk about how important reading is, but DCPS actions scream that we’re hypocrites.
Overheard in the Coaches Office
By Greg Sampson
Middle School ELA, where teachers force students to read books when they don’t want to read. They would rather play video games or watch the movie.
For the last two years, novel studies have been part of the curriculum for middle school students in their ELA/reading classes. Students read excerpts from the book and then do work guided by teachers with an eye to how they will be presented limited passages on “THE TEST”, once FCAT, now called FSA even though we have no idea what it will look like.
ELA teachers report to the Reading Coach that the students are begging to read the novels in their entirety. They are only being allowed to read selected sections. They say, “We don’t know what’s going on. Can’t we read the whole book?”
Uh, no. Sorry, kids, but the Curriculum Guides will not allow that.
These are kids who hate to read, but they are interested in the book put in front of them, they beg to read the whole book, but no. No, no, no, no, no, these books are not for reading. They are for studying passages and learning to answer test questions.
Coaches and teachers discuss classroom strategies to get around this problem. “Jigsaw” the book; that is, have students read different parts of the chapters and then share with the whole class. What a disappointment! This human Cliff Notes approach still denies students the pleasure of reading a book on their own.
But what is a hardworking teacher to do? They only have 10 copies of a book. They don’t have enough for an entire class to read or for students to take books home. Let’s not start on Duval County’s shuttered school libraries.
We talk about how important reading is, but our actions scream that we’re hypocrites.
We don’t have the books. It’s so bad we don’t have enough SRA books in my school. This past week, the reading coach received the outrageous suggestion from the District Director to put what books we have on a cart and roll them from room to room throughout the day.
Didn’t the Superintendent promise last fall that schools would never again lack the instructional materials they needed? I’m calling BS on that one.
Think on it: kids want to read a book. DCPS says no.