Advanced readers are bored

Hot off the press!

Big surprise, I know. I invite you to read the article and share your thoughts. What do you think of the highly-regimented instruction described in this article? What do you think those parents who are concerned should do?

3 Responses to “Advanced readers are bored”

  1. I have been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks but I am not sure my thoughts have solidified. Buthere are some thoughts…I want to try to build some perspective on this whole issue of “scripted” programs. The simple summary is do not be so quick to bash these programs until you really understand them. Are there downsides? Yes, but since plenty of people seem prepared to point them out I am going to point out positives.

    The article says: ” These days, Butler’s students follow a strict schedule. Two hours of morning reading. An additional 40 minutes for strugglers. Writing practice”
    First of all, while this maybe a true statement of the particular program in question it is not the intent of the programs I have worked with. The 40 minutes are usually refered to as universal access time and they are to be devoted to differentiated instruction in accordance with each child’s abilities on any given skill (not to just “struggeling students). This means that teaching to the middle is not enough. The students at both ends of the spectrum deserve quality time and instruction that challenges them. In practical terms it may not play out especially in areas that have high stakes testing. However, it is the design of the program and it is a solid concept. The problem is that high stakes testing continues to push us to spend all our time on one end of the spectrum and to not truly challenge all students.
    I have seen other postive effects of these programs also and they are probably the subject of another post.Much of what is required of the teachers is sound and re-enforces good instructional habits including on going professional development, coaching, pacing and the use of bulletin board as instructional aides not just pretty pictures. Could these happen without the programs and do many teachers do them anyway …yes of course… but the programs keep these concepts in the forefront of our thinking and helps to keep us sharp.

  2. When the success of such programs is assessed, what skills are really being measured? I purport that such assessments accurately assess one’s ability to take bubble tests. Such programs indeed improve assessed scores. The use of scripted, direct instruction is a poor use of educational degrees, making one wonder why anyone would bother going to college to be a teacher.

  3. Are all bubble tests bad? It seems to me that while they are only one measure and may not reveal higher level thinking they do provide a glimpse of mastery of fundamental skills that become a building block for higher level thinking. Two of the more valuable components of the assessment we use are the writing activity and the reading fluency.
    Every tool whether it is technology or a packaged reading program is dependent on the teacher and how they implement it. I have been in way to many classrooms that teach to the middle and others that teach to the low end of the spectrum- through the program we are using there is the ability to structure teaching that challenges all students. Maybe we have more leeway than others have in our implementation but I do believe there are some lessons to be learned from the program.

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