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Young girl in striped short reading a book next to a cat
Dr. Joanne Meier
Sound It Out
Joanne Meier

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 (opens in a new window) I read on 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!

1. Be decisive. Make an informed, research-based decision about the reading program you’re going to use.

2. Have a tight circle. Listen to the voices of parents, teachers, and administrators. Don’t go it alone and expect it to work.

3. Stick with the plan. Too often, schools change gears before giving a program a chance to work. If you have evidence that change is occurring, stay with the plan.

4. Sweat the details. Find out how things are working for all your kids: your ELL population, your kids with LD, and other subgroups. Find out what you can do to improve data collection and implementation.

5. Understand your brand. In reading, I think this means the daily reminder that our goal is creating a population of kids who can (and want to) read well.

6. Go digital. For classrooms, this means developing teachers who know and use technology for assessment and teaching.

7. Use caution. Be wary of programs and interventions that claim to have quick and easy solutions for struggling readers.

As I’ve said before, it’s darn hard work, but we can do it!

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
November 5, 2008