Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

From Oregon to Florida-Malpractice Reigns

I just finished reading a great article in the Salem Statesman Journal. No matter how many times common sense comes a knockin at the doors of states and school districts – they never answer. Instead of giving students the access to books they need- states and districts continue to do the opposite. See some of my earlier pieces on how schools are reinforcing the book poverty that stalks our poor students.

The relationship between reading and writing is well documented in research. Dr. Stephen Krashen from the Rossier School of Education at USC notes, “We do not learn to write by writing… writing style is not consciously learned, but is largely absorbed, or subconsciously learned, from reading.”

Why, then, are we cutting funds to libraries and giving students less time to read? Why are we not giving students the access to books they need? In Florida, many school libraries have been converted into computer testing labs. Libraries are often closed at schools for 40-50 days a year. Yes, this is immoral and harmful.

In Florida there is a scandal over the recent writing exam results. The state raised the requirements for a passing score and then had to lower them. The test lends itself to schools teaching students to write boring five paragraph essays. Since the test is not required for graduation I would suggest students and parents consider opting out of it.  They should also consider opting out of the several “practice” writing tests students are subjected to. What a huge waste of time and money this whole skill-drill-kill writing factory approach is! They cannot make you take this test. Be polite, but decline.

Exciting students about reading and writing at an early age is key!  Poor students lack the access to books they need to become readers and writers. Schools in states like Florida are sadly encouraging the malpractice of denying students access and time. It will only get worse in states that took the bribe to adopt common core. Under common core we will see more testing and less time to enjoy reading and writing. I don’t know about you but I do not want to lose another generation to the educational testing complex and standards based nonsense. More time reading means more book loving and proficient readers (and writers).

Teachers, I urge you to let kids read a lot and write a lot. Let them read whatever they want and write about whatever they want. Build book loving students test scores will take care of themselves.

Do not hop on the common core train. Set the train on fire.

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