Be all that you can be. Find your future--as a teacher.

Musings of a second-year teacher.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Great Debate

I realize that this will be my second entry in one night, but considering this may be a long post, I thought it warranted an entirely different entry.

Within my county and my school, there has been a lot of turn-over during the last year. We began this school year with a new principal and new assistant principal. Our new principal has begun to look over the way we currently have been doing things to see what can be improved. She has decided that our school reading program needs an "overhaul" and has taken to testing all of our students to determine their reading level. There are quite a few sceptics in the school who believe this is not the best route for our school. Being a new teacher, I still have loosely-formed opinions and I'm interested to see how this program will work out. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I'm also interested in what other people have to say. Our new "reading program" has a strong emphasis on students learning Dolch words. I've been told that educational philosophies change in the same way a pendulum moves. In this case, the "new" reading philosphy that encourages Dolch words was also popular (so I'm told) quite a while ago.

I don't doubt that learning Dolch words is important. Learning sight words is an integral part of the process of learning to read. However, I am slightly concerned about the volume of words our Kindergartners will now be expected to read. Until this point, our students were expected to know approximately 45 sight words at the end of the Kindergarten year. Now, our students will be expected to read Pre-Primer, Primer and First Grade words by the end of Kindergarten. According to my calculations (if my sources and calculations are correct), our students will now need to read 133 words at the end of Kindergarten. I am intrigued to see what our students will be able to do. I think some students will achieve this goal. However, I'm concerned for many others. If you've followed my blog, you may remember that I had quite a few students up for retention last year. These students could barely read ten sight words. What will happen to students like that? They were overwhelmed at the prospect of reading 45 words. What will they do when we try to tell them that they need to read twice as many?

I'm curious to hear about the reading programs that other schools use. The program my student-teaching school used was very different, however, I was never given a formal explanation of the program, so I'm not necessarily sure what it would be classified as. Any advice, thoughts, etc. on this reading program or on a reading program that has been implemented and worked well would be greatly appreciated!

7 Comments:

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10:22 PM  
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4:03 AM  
Anonymous Student Accommodation said...

This is really a nice nlog..I like your writning techniques...I am also agree with you that "Learning sight words is an integral part of the process of learning to read".

9:55 PM  
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