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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What are they reading?

Posted by: Hammer / 9:07 AM

From the Daily Howler:

At any rate, Dillon is not the first to note the dumping of science and social studies. If kindergartens are outlawing naps, can seventh-grade history be far behind? But here'’s the irony -- when we eliminate history and science, we eliminate the most basic motives for reading. Will deserving kids like Ruben Jiminez -- boys who just want to chop up a frog -- —be encouraged to read library books about this compelling creature? Will they be led into science texts, where they can read about similar subjects? Because Dillon doesn’t seem to have checked, we don'’t know what Ruben does each day during his three reading classes. But children have always learned to read by reading about great historical figures -- —and children have always learned to read by reading about the innards of frogs. If Sacramento has deep-sixed science and history, what is Ruben reading about? Uh-oh! Perhaps he isn'’t really "“reading"” at all -- —perhaps he’s just doing cheap drills.

Terrifying, really. These schools seem to be dumping everything wonderful about the printed word in favor of building rote skills. How many schools have libraries full of dust-covered books about princesses and ponies or football and frogs? Why should kids read? Because stories are great. Because you learn cool stuff. Not because they have to pass a test.


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