Supporting Readers Together

This is our last blog post in our Literacy Matters month.  I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone in the community who is working to create better readers.  I truly believe the saying:  “When we know better, we do better”.   At Regina Speech Centre we want to be support the grassroots change towards science based reading instruction.

Thank you to the teachers who are taking training to learn more about the science of reading.  Thank you to the teachers who show up every day and put in their best, it’s not an easy job.  Thank you to the parents who are advocating for their children and working hard at home to ensure their success.  Thank you to the administrators who are listening to their teachers and creating change.  Thank you to all involved who take the time to KNOW BETTER.

This leads us to our last topic.  Let’s advocate for raising the bar for teachers.  I have taught many teacher workshops and always ask the same question:  When you left school did you feel ready to teach reading?  In my 20 years I have never had a teacher answer yes.  Most respond that they learned on the job and were taught by another teacher.  There is always a sense of frustration in the room about what they wish they knew.  They are teaching because they like children and want to help, but are often left to find resources and supports on their own.

“In the case of reading, for example, teachers aren’t exposed to basic information about how reading relates to speech; linguistic concepts such as phoneme, morpheme, dialect; facts about the bases of reading skill and the causes of reading impairments; relations between implicit learning and explicit instruction; and much else.  Schools of education have constructed elaborate rationalizations for why this science is irrelevant.”  Mark Seidenberg.  This leads to teachers being vilified in the discussion about reading instruction, but most are doing the best they can with the learning, support and resources provided for them.

Louisa Moats states that “teaching reading is rocket science”.  I know for a fact that this science is not being taught to our teachers.  Reading is complex and mulit-faceted, teaching reading is too.  We need to support our teachers to have access to the right instruction and the right resources to make sure all learners succeed.  So let’s advocate with our administrators, our school boards, and our ministry to provide education in the science of reading and structured literacy to our teachers so that no child will be left behind.  We’re doing our part through offering workshops, providing resources, and shouting loud on social media.  What can you do that will help our teachers succeed?