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READING ALOUD IN SCHOOL IS NOT A frill or a time waster, as whole language teachers will attest. There's nothing more comforting, more life-affirming--for students of all grade levels--than hearing a memorable book read aloud.
Ask a 5-year-old why it's hot in the summer, and he'll probably say it's because the Earth is closer to the sun. Ask a high school senior the same question, and the chances are you'll get the same answer. Both are wrong; seasons result from the angle of the Earth on its axis as it orbits the sun. The high school senior, like the 5-year-old, is responding on the basis of powerful, instinctive ideas about the world that everyone develops early in life. Through experience, the child learns that the closer one gets to a source of heat, the hotter it is; using a child's logic, the same must be true of the Earth and the sun.
TEACHING IS A MESSY, UNCERTAIN business. No wonder: It happens inside a wild triangle of relations--among teacher, students, and subject--whose dimensions continually shift. What should I teach given all that I might teach? How can I grasp it myself so that my grasping may enable theirs? What are they thinking and feeling toward me, toward each other, toward the thing I'm trying to teach? What are they really learning anyway?
When the students at Northrop High School opened the June 5, 1990, issue of their school newspaper, the center pages were blank, except for the words: "This is not a printer's error.''
IT WAS A GOOD MOMENT. THE SCHOOL WAS quiet, the gym dark and still, as I ran from one end to the other, sprinting "lines,'' capping the evening with a brief workout.