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Swearing and Reading Teachers

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She: Cussing weakens your content, but if it works for you…One factor to weave into your enthusiasm for the standards is the readiness of the students to understand and learn the content. As my students were nearly 100% alliterate, pleasure in reading that resulted in sustained silent reading would come before analyzing literature.

Me: The curriculum cannot be designed to first serve the alliterate. Standards must be set for what one should be able to do to succeed in the world. Those with needs such as your students need all the help they can get to be able to read those texts important to understanding well the world and all the thought about the world that thinkers (and the not so thoughtful) produce. To read without being able to analyze, produces what Wayne O’Neil rightfully deemed the “illiterate literate.” Stephen Tchudi once said that we need to get rid of those who teach reading and what he meant was that those who teach reading, the reading teachers, are taught to teach the mechanics of reading rather than the purpose or the process by which words are translated into meaning, meaning into significance, and significance into a purpose of some kind, a meaningful response to what is said. He is right in arguing that the reading teachers have had way too much influence in the schools so that all students are looked upon as alliterate unless they can perform as reading teachers specify they should, showing mechanical skill first and then maybe real and deep understanding of what they read and, too, what they see and hear, a real literacy that cannot be taught by teachers versed in the mechanics who are not truly literate in the deep literacy sense, who do not read the difficult texts because, well, they are too hard to read. I have knowing way too many of teachers of this kind, reading teachers who come close to being O’Neil’s illiterate literates.

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