This Washington Post article features former school principal Joanne Yatvin’s thoughts on why it is important to provide students with the opportunity to self-select texts and to have designated time in the school day for independent reading. Yatvin notes that in many US schools the practice of independent reading “has been abandoned in favor of systematic programs that promise to raise student test scores.” Link to article: www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/09/08/why-kids-should-choose-their-own-books-to-read-in-school
What are your thoughts — do you consider independent reading to be an important part of a literacy program?
An article in the New York Times caught my eye, it highlights New York schools chancellor Carmen Fariña’s proposal to adopt a balanced literacy approach in more New York City classrooms (link to article provided below). The article reports that, “during her almost six months as chancellor, Ms. Fariña, a veteran of the school system, has reduced the role of standardized tests, increased collaboration among schools and shepherded through a new contract for teachers that includes more training and more communication with parents. But her push for a revival of balanced literacy may have some of the most far-reaching implications in the classroom.” Proponents of the Common Core academic standards have however, voiced resistance to implementation of a balanced literacy approach, arguing that it is at odds with the learning goals emphasized in the core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states. What do you think are the pros and cons of a balanced literacy approach?