What are the best ways to start a new school year? LitWorld Founder Pam Allyn was asked to share her expert answer to this question over on Education Week for this week's edition of Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo. Here's Pam's advice for an unforgettable year:
The time is now to make a commitment to turn every child into a "super reader," to give them a sure way to become truly ready for the 21st century world and to experience the joy, pleasure and exaltation of an empowered reading life.
We can do this, first, by depathologizing the reading experience. We have "medicalized" reading instruction so that we are in a constant state of diagnosing children: leveling them, intervening with them, "pushing in" or "pulling out." The language we use to describe how we teach reading can be negative for children, and our methods for instruction can feel more like treating a disease than raising readers. At LitWord, I work with children across the United States and the world, and see children yearning for a positive reading experience, longing to join the literacy "club," and striving to become better at something they know will change their lives. The negative language of low expectations and intervention is inhibitive. It has prevented them from seeing themselves as super readers, from becoming aspirational in their reading goals, and from being bold and fearless in taking risks as readers. It has denied them a place at the reading table.