Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#sol15 Time for Reading and Writing

Long ago, when I was first teaching, in the days when Language Experience ruled, we made butter from creme, wrote about our experience and then read about it, all in the same day.   I suspect we spent about 2 hours a day in our "ELA" block.  During the "Whole Language days" we focused on ELA all day, every day.  In the era of Reading and Writing Workshop, we reserved an our for reading and 45 minutes for writing - every day.  We even did word study in a separate block.  
As we start this new school year, with science, math, technology, physical activities, art, music, and social studies crammed into ever day, I have become increasingly concerned about the amount of time "left" in the school day for reading and writing.  I get that math is important and teachers need their breaks (specials).  I "get" that learning how to "code" is the future for many of our students and as the momma to an engineer, I "get" the importance of STEM for all students

Yet, there is one thing for sure: we learn to be readers and writers by reading and writing.  It's the foundation of all learning. We need to have dedicated focused time where we immersed young readers and writers in print and model the strategies of readers and writers.  We need to have time for readers and writers to experiment and practice. to take risks with print.  We need to give them feedback and support each and every day.  It's all important; however, reading and writing is the foundation of all learning.  Either we add minutes to the school day, or we stop and revisit our priorities!  


Chris Margocs said...

I agree with you--literacy is at the heart of learning, and writing is at the heart of sharing what you learn. I know mandated minutes are in place to make for a well-balanced curriculum, but I sometimes wish we could just focus on reading, writing, math, and exploration for the first three or four years of school.

Linda Baie said...

I don't know exactly what you're talking about Anita, but if all those things are separate studies, then obviously there will be less Language Arts per se, but why can't there be a lot of integration of the LA skills into ALL the disciplines-seems like LA is the backbone of each. I'm glad you wrote this, but sad to hear that these changes are happening.

Ramona said...

It's always challenging and always changing. That dedicated focused time for reading and writing is so important. I hope you can figure out a way to work it in even with all the new expectations.