Friday, January 2, 2009

WHY I Teach Literacy

I have a few more graphic novels, and another novel that I need to review, but I can wait on those until the time is right. Since today is Friday, and I head back to work for two days of professional development and planning on Monday and Tuesday, I figured it's time to start reminding myself about WHY I teach literacy.

Of course, on the surface, I teach literacy because it's part of my job as an elementary teacher, a major part of my job. But that's a given, and obviously I didn't become a teacher and then go "dang, I have to teach literacy." So, why then, why do I have my students engage in straight literary practice (aside from social studies, science, etc., which are literary as well) for over two hours every day?

I will continue to bring this point up in this blog, and that point is that I DO NOT teach literacy in order to have my students score better on a test, any test. I teach the way I do because I want my students to develop a love and/or appreciation for reading and writing, and to further their own critical thinking skills. I want my students to enjoy the things they read, and seek out more. I want them to become independent, quick (and slow) minded thinkers (there's a whole school of thought on long thinking and slow thinking, and it's really quite fascinating).

So next Wednesday, when my students return, I want to focus more on the process of reading and writing, on them understanding their books, understanding their own likes and dislikes, and understanding how to find books that they will enjoy. The problem in America is that many students, the majority actually, lack these self-awareness skills, and as a result, never develop good reading habits and don't read.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it saddens me deeply to talk to college students and adults who have no appreciation for the written word. To say they've never read a book like it's something to be proud of and to claim that there is no merit in picking up a book is what I feel like I'm fighting against. It's a bigger issue now, because there are so many influences that pull kids away from books these days, and it's our jobs as literacy educators to pull them back into the wonderful world of reading.

So there, that's my rant, I'm done now.


georgerdg414 said...

It makes me wonder if using blogposts for secondary classes will be a step in the right direction. Like the Adam Sandler reference though I prefer Happy Gilmore.

william2233 said...

Here's a site from a children author in Concord, Ca.

Enjoy free stories and poetry for the ages of 3 on up.

Too many parents don't buy books. But, buy to many video games.