"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Self-selected reading! Susan Ohanian in the LA Times

Feb. 21, 2022 LA Times

To the editor: As a longtime teacher of kids having difficulty in school, I’m worried about The Times’ description of new L.A. Unified School District Supt. Alberto Carvalho as a leader “acutely focused on testing and other data to improve school and student performance.”

I just worry about how much of that “other data” involves how much time kids spend freely reading books of their choice.

My class was grouped as the “lowest scorers” in third grade. We started the day with an hour of silent reading. The kids chose the books to read. As a teacher, I showed them lots of possibilities for good reading.

And I told my talkative principal, “No interruptions, please.” The kids, who’d probably never seen an adult reading, saw me read during that hour.

Individually, they wrote to their favorite authors. Imagine the thrill of having such stars as Jack Prelutsky and Beverly Cleary write back.

At the end of the year, every child except one scored at grade level or above on the sacred standardized test. Now, I only wish I had the data so important to Carvalho — the number of pages read by those kids in books they chose to read.

Susan Ohanian, Charlotte, Vt


  1. Reading? What's that? Reserved for those who are really lucky. Here we are. The frog is boiling. Time to jump?
    Testing seems so quaint these days in terms of more nefarious mind numbing, dumbing down with gutting curriculum to finance bullshit. We watch as public schools disintegrate before our eyes. Build Back Better Schools, there's a concept. But they need to look totally different. Time to expand the horizons of childhood education on all levels.

  2. Looks like NCLB was successful.

    Many Public Schools are largely destroyed.

    Covid hit hard as well.

    But the "pro-reform" folks who hate Pub Ed so much should be celebrating
    their destruction of it.

    The bad guys won.