Menu

Teacher education

How running a reading program is like running a campaign

As I write this blog on Wednesday morning after our historic presidential election, I'm struck by an article I read on msnbc.com. Howard Fineman summarized what he saw as Obama's seven-prong approach to his campaign that served him well.

It was easy for me to see how well these same seven prongs could serve schools and districts well as they consider how they teach reading.

Below are the seven prongs as described by Fineman, with each prong's relationship to reading summarized. See what you think!

Mindful of Words

I recently reviewed Mindful of Words, Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations 4-8 by Kathy Ganske.

The book is a great resource for teachers and tutors who work with upper-level spellers. Based in developmental spelling research and vocabulary learning, the book helps teachers understand how to assess students' word knowledge and how to teach in a way that encourages a love of words.

I have a boy! As a teacher! And he’s tall!

Those were the first sentences out of Anna's mouth when she read her teacher assignment for this year. Out of 20 classroom teachers at our school, there's exactly one male teacher. He teaches first grade, and Anna got him!

She's thrilled, of course. All the kids know Mr. B. All the parents love him. "Gentle giant," they say. "A real calm presence." Sounds good to me. I'll let you know as the year goes along.

TeacherTube

Continuing this month's Reading Rockets theme of reading and writing in the digital world, I thought I'd highlight TeacherTube. If you haven't seen it yet, it's YouTube for teachers. There are thousands of videos there, created by and for teachers. It also includes student projects and videos teachers could use for teaching. Viewers can see what's being viewed right now, comment on videos and vote for ones you think should be featured.

Pleasurable professional reading

One the perks of working at Reading Rockets is that I get to review books and curriculum materials that we are considering adding to the Learning Store. I've reviewed several recently that made for very pleasurable professional reading. I thought I'd share two of them with you in case you're looking for something to read this summer.

Teaching This Teacher

My first year of teaching (sigh, moan, groan) included a single-wide trailer behind a "high-needs school," one ream of paper for my copies (that was replenished in December), and one truly fabulous colleague.

Alison had been teaching for six years when I started, and was a truly gifted teacher. Her classroom (a double-wide trailer) was everything I wanted mine to be – inviting, stimulating, and organized. Her classroom management was subtle, but effective. She held incredibly high expectations for her students, and they worked even harder to meet her goals.

Stand up tall, wave your arms, find some help

If you've been reading the comments on some of my other posts, you might have seen first-year teacher Sarah's comment sharing her confusion "about the direction I want/need to go with reading instruction." Sarah put a voice to the feelings of so many first-year teachers when she wrote "with so little experience, it is hard for me to sort through everything I hear from the experts on both sides."

Pages

"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me." — Strickland Gillilan