Opinion
Standards Letter to the Editor

Thoughtful Literacy Instruction Is Crucial

June 11, 2012 1 min read

To the Editor:

David Coleman’s appointment as the president of the College Board will further drive national policy that focuses on high-stakes testing, standardization of curriculum, and scripted instruction that comes from the common-core preparation programs being marketed based on “publishers’ criteria” created by Mr. Coleman and his colleagues at Student Achievement Partners (a nonprofit organization that develops implementation strategies for the common-core standards).

Teaching to high standards based on research is imperative, but as literacy expert Catherine Snow noted in the article, while Mr. Coleman’s goals are laudatory, his instructional approach ignores the research that focuses on the importance of prereading to build the knowledge needed for understanding. Mr. Coleman also emphasized the need for all students to be able to independently read grade-level texts.

This one-size-fits all approach has been discredited because it does not enable teachers to respond to the different needs of English-language learners, students with special educational needs, students from diverse backgrounds, and students who live in poverty. As a reading specialist recently communicated to me: “I can scaffold every student to read grade-level texts, but I know that they cannot independently read these texts.”

Mr. Coleman’s approach for common-core standards and the SAT is doomed to fail just as the Institute of Education Sciences’ 2008 Reading First impact study showed no increases in reading comprehension in schools based on No Child Left Behind.

Both approaches are based on standardization and testing rather than professional development of teachers to become expert reading teachers who understand how to teach thoughtful literacy to all students.

Michael Shaw

Professor of Literacy Education

St. Thomas Aquinas College

Sparkill, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2012 edition of Education Week as Thoughtful Literacy Instruction Is Crucial

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
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
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

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

Standards Opinion After All That Commotion, Was the Common Core a Big Nothingburger?
The Common Core State Standards may not have had an impact on student outcomes, but they did make school improvement tougher and more ideological.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards New Media Literacy Standards Aim to Combat 'Truth Decay'
The RAND Corporation has released a set of media literacy standards designed to help teach students to identify misinformation.
6 min read
Visual shows a young woman lying down and watching live news content on her mobile phone.
gorodenkoff/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Standards How to Assess English-Learners' Needs From a Distance? Here's Some Help
With schools unable to conduct in-person evaluations, schools must find new ways to determine if students need English-language-learner support services.
2 min read
Standards Fact Check: Trump Administration Didn't 'Get Rid' of Common Core
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos implied at the Conservative Political Action Conference that President Donald Trump has fulfilled a pledge to "get rid of" the Common Core State Standards. That's not true.
2 min read