kitchen table math, the sequel: strategies not content

Saturday, January 9, 2010

strategies not content

The proposed English-Language Arts “college and career readiness” standards (which we are told are not high school graduation standards) are largely a list of content-free generic skills. Rather than focusing on what English teachers are trained to teach (quality literature), the drafters seem to expect English teachers to teach reading strategies presumed to help students to cope with biology or economics textbooks.

Alternative Needed to Common Core: An Additional Consortium for ‎Common Standards
Williamson M. Evers and Ze'ev Wurman
If you want a reading "strategy" that works, buy a copy of Eugene Schwartz's How to Double Your Child's Grades in School and/or read Carolyn Johnston's posts on Schwartz:
I like SQ3R, too.

American Educator issue devoted to reading comprehension
Six-Way Paragraphs
SQ3R chart


farmwifetwo said...

I read the first link you listed and realized I do that automatically with a NF book. I read up to Chapter 1... word for word, then quite often read the conclusion next. From there I might skip around the book, but I always figure out exactly what the book is about first.

Probably b/c I do that even with Fic. I'm a skimmer. If it's really good I'll read word for word... but since I read A LOT and since I was 3 daily (truly... ask my Mom about my being banned from the reading corner in kindergarten and told to go and play)... I tend to skim and read endings right after the first chapter.

I've noticed the lack of "literature" or "classics" in the curriculum. For the eldest's home reading for school we've been reading them or fiction/nonfiction stories about history. Usborne books, has a good selection of "classics", "shakespeare" in coloquial english and child friendly.

Robert Pondiscio said...

I put up a long piece about this at the Core Knowledge Blog about a phenomenon that I describe as "literacy creep" -- the ever-growing tendency for explicit reading instruction to spread to all grades and content areas from one end to the other of K-12. By suggesting that students need a literacy-driven approach to every subject, we ignore the obvious: we're not paying enough attention to content knowledge. Instead of adding explicit literacy instruction across content areas, we should be doing the opposite: emphasizing content in elementary literacy instruction.