Literacy gaps and curricula

[Response to BPR’s chapter 18]

I immediately have to start off by pointing out that high school completion rates have decreased due to the fact that students can’t pass their reading proficiency benchmarks (274). Am I the only one that sees a problem with this? Not that kids aren’t graduating, but why is it that they did not receive more proactive help before they even reached high school? This is probably one of the most frustrating factors I have found to be true even at the school I am in now. There are practically non-reading students in the 8th grade. Why were literacy/reading specialists not brought into the picture? The teachers acknowledge how sad this is and say, “Yes, he/she really needed a specialist.” If everyone sees this, then why isn’t it happening?

Then, I get even more frustrated and yes, even angry, when I read “both poor and minority students at twelfth grade read at the same level as eighth-grade nonpoor and nonminority students” (274). It’s not that I haven’t read articles and seen statistics reporting on this issue, but I think every time I do, I get more bitter. Why create assessments and curricula that only cater to the very elite few in our society? (Hence, yet again, why I don’t like assessments.)

However, despite my frustration (with sadly, the facts of our society), I did find hope in simple comments such as English teachers should not carry the burden of all of this (274). I think this is where we can really tie into interdisclinary studies and multiliteracies By creating meaningful connections across the board, we are helping our students by leading them towards the path of success.

As Allington states, “We can craft curricular plans that reduce the struggle for almost all of our students. The effective adolescent literacy teachers chose the latter route…” (287). I guess this makes me an effective literacy teacher, yet I have to laugh and wonder why every teacher is not in this category…and I don’t think our society will ever surpass the literacy gaps until we can pinpoint that reasoning down.

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