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Phonemic Awareness, Etc.

One of my favorite writers, James Herndon, wrote this in How to Survive in Your Native Land (1971): “What stops you [from reading] is people teaching you skills and calling those skills ‘reading,’ which they are not, and giving you no time to actually read in the school without interruption.”

It always seems to me that people make education too complicated, with reading being a prime example. Experts, people with lots of letters after their names, assign numbers and levels and many polysyllabic words to such things as reading skills.

With all the folderol about skills, Herndon says, “No one has ever had much time in school to just read the damn books. They’re always practicing up to read.”

I feel so disengaged, so frustrated, so out of the loop when I’m plowing through articles about teaching and sitting at meetings about literacy. Other intelligent and well-meaning people apparently find all this stuff about value-added progress and alignment and meta-cognitive assessment interesting and helpful. I find it all complicated and unusable, and it makes me feel alienated, angry, and sad.

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