Maybe there never was more than an uneasy cease fire
Education Week reports (subscription?) that activities to implement the Common Core State Standards in actual classrooms are re-igniting the long simmering war over how to teach reading.
At issue: a reading instructional technique called “Pre-Reading.” This involves classroom activities to get students ready for reading.
Proponents say this is necessary when student don’t have a lot of background knowledge needed to understand the text.
Opponents charge pre-reading has become excessive in many classrooms. Opponents charge pre-reading totally eliminates any need for the students to actually read the text. Instead, the over-done pre-reading already gives students all the information in the passage they are about to read. It’s as if the teacher has already read the passage to the students.
Some say the intent in the Common Core Standards is to outlaw pre-reading.
Others contest that.
There is evidence that pre-reading has indeed become excessive. EdWeek cites one example videotaped session where the pre-reading takes 20 minutes while the actual time required to read the passage is only six minutes.
The argument has stirred up ghosts of the Whole Language Reading wars, as well.
One person quoted in EdWeek talks about “decades of research which shows that meaning is in the interaction of reader and text.”
That’s an echo of Whole Language reading philosophy. Some might counter that really scientific research on reading has not been around for decades. Some of the best of that recent research relied first on Positron Emission Tomography and more recently on Functional Magneto-Resonant Imaging (fMRI) technology. This technical approach to reading research didn’t even start to appear until the mid- to late-1990s. It is now identifying reading programs that can transition very weak readers into much stronger readers.
In any event, get ready to dive back in your bunkers. It looks like reading fights are back on.