Opinion
Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor

Common-Core Standards in Reading Not ‘Flawed’

March 27, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Joanne Yatvin protests teaching children the skills and knowledge they need to become competent and joyful readers (“A Flawed Approach to Reading in the Common-Core Standards,”, Commentary, Feb. 29, 2012). Worse, she underestimates the capability and interest of young children. I, too, was an elementary school principal and saw firsthand the interest children took in the world around them. Kindergarten children devoured nonfiction about dinosaurs. They requested over and over again the Magic School Bus books about their bodies.

While I agree that the Common Core State Standards demand more of children and that analytical skills must be developed thoughtfully, young children can grapple with such texts.

Additionally, Ms. Yatvin protests the statement that students should receive explicit and systematic instruction in the reading-foundation skills in order to develop automaticity. This was exactly what the National Reading Panel found, and the finding is well supported by research.

Furthermore, the statement she decries does not say that comprehension comes automatically. The quoted portion states that independent and automatic reading is important “to ensure” that the focus can be on comprehension. It is well supported that students who lack automaticity and fluent reading ability have a harder time focusing on meaning.

Finally, the argument against the vocabulary focus is particularly troubling. Tier 2 words (as studied by Isabel L. Beck at the University of Pittsburgh) are not just academic words, but also vocabulary common to much of children’s literature. By addressing academic language early, we can attempt to overcome the socioeconomic and language discrepancies noted in Todd R. Risley and Betty Hart’s book Meaningful Differences in Everyday Experience of Young American Children (1995).

Developing academic and important vocabulary knowledge is an equity issue. I cannot believe Ms. Yatvin doesn’t want our English-learners and children with impoverished vocabulary to develop language on par with their more advantaged peers.

Linda Diamond

Chief Executive Officer

Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education

Berkeley, Calif.

The consortium was previously known as the Consortium on Reading Excellence, or CORE.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 28, 2012 edition of Education Week as Common-Core Standards in Reading Not ‘Flawed’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy English Teachers Should Teach More Nonfiction, National Group Says. Here's How
Nonfiction memoirs, essays, and journalism can enrich students' perspectives, says the National Council of Teachers of English.
6 min read
Hispanic school teacher reading aloud to her young students
E+/Getty
Reading & Literacy Young Writers Need Structure to Learn the Craft. How Much Is Enough?
Writing instruction should give students both tools and exemplars they can use—and frequent opportunities to practice them at length.
11 min read
Third graders identify the different components of a strong paragraph, practicing with a sample piece of writing. Teachers at Kegonsa use models like this to help students master the frameworks that they will use in their own writing.
Third graders identify the different components of a strong paragraph, practicing with a sample piece of writing. Teachers at Kegonsa Elementary, in Stoughton, Wis., use models like this to help students master the frameworks that they will use in their own writing.
Narayan Mahon for Education Week
Reading & Literacy Explainer 'Encoding' Explained: What It Is and Why It's Essential to Literacy
From children's earliest strokes on a page to letter formation and spelling, writing helps students connect speech to print.
7 min read
Young writer looking at a flash card showing a picture of a dog and writing various words that begin with a "D" like dog, donut, duck and door.
iStock/Getty