There are increasingly wonderful pieces now on the web about reading instruction. Each of them possess strong and thoughtful ideas about how to teach reading down to the tiny elements that make it work. This is an enormous improvement over the previous “mysterious and magical” way that teachers thought children learned to read. “Give the child an authentic text and she/he will automatically LEARN” was a dangerous and widely believed poison that harmed almost half of our children. Now we know about all these elements that function as the critical pieces of learning to read. But most of the materials out there, while frequently citing the importance of fluency, do…
And Seem a Saint
We don't tend to assume kids can swim and toss them in the deep end with no preparation to teach them how to swim. We'd rightly assume there's a 50/50 chance they'd drown without first being shown how to swim step-by-step. Someone I met once, likewise, compared education to tossing baby birds out of a nest, and the thought naturally occurred to me that, just as an ill-prepared swimmer might drown, a baby bird with no flying experience has a good chance of dying of a broken neck on the forest floor without being taught how first.
Elizabeth Haughton sent Jean Tucker to me. She told Jean that I could teach her to chart her student’s performance on the Standard Celeration Chart, and Jean came down to Hingham from Exeter, NH and spent a day with me learning to chart. She found it confusing and frustrating at first, but quickly got the hang of it. Jean was and continues to be the most knowledgeable and inquisitive language and reading expert I have ever met, and that meeting was the beginning of an important friendship. Jean was happy to learn to chart and went back to her learning center in Exeter and made Precision Teaching a part of…