Reading & Literacy

Reading Aloud to Adolescents, and a Socratic Curriculum

By Catherine Gewertz — January 06, 2010 1 min read

A couple of great reads this morning. Be sure to check out a story by my colleague Mary Ann Zehr about teachers who read aloud to their middle and high school students. There are some really interesting anecdotes from teachers about why—and what—they read aloud to their students. And there’s a suggestion that reading aloud can not only help build students’ fluency and improve their attitude toward reading, but also boost their content knowledge. Be sure to read the accompanying sidebar, which features more read-aloud stories from teachers.

This story is not just a great read, it’s of particular interest as policymakers put a tighter focus on the importance of adolescent literacy. (See Mary Ann’s story about how the federal Striving Readers program plays out in one Chicago school. Also, see my story on the capstone report of a scholarly panel that urged a completely revamped approach to adolescent literacy, and my profile of one Alabama high school’s work to infuse all subjects with literacy instruction.)

On a different note, there’s an interesting story out of Cincinnati recently describing a Socratic approach to instruction. In the city’s five public “Paideia” schools, no more than 10 percent of a teacher’s time is spent in lecture format. The emphasis is on constructing a dialogue with students that guides them through learning. Fascinating stuff.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.