As you know if you read my blog at all, I am a reader! This is something I am very proud of because it hasn't always been that way for me. I spent many years of my adulthood avoiding books at all costs. Now one of the reasons I look forward to summer vacation is tackling my pile of to-be-read books. I have to decide where to start-the fiction books, the books for my student book club or professional reads. I decided to start with a professional read and I highly recommend it.
As you are reading it, you want to kick yourself because the ideas seem so obvious. The basic gist is that we do too much of the work in our classes and the kiddos develop a learned helplessness to the point that they don't trust themselves. They are always looking to us for the answers-did I sound that word out correctly? Am I supposed to go on to the next page?
Reminders that in this world of "scaffolding" for our lower readers, we may end up doing more harm than good. When a painter paints, they remove the scaffolding when they are done-if they have to paint another coat, the scaffolding gets put back. Using the scaffold doesn't help him paint any better independently, without the scaffold.
The authors extol the virtues of the read-aloud that I think many people forget. It's supposed to be fun and engaging for the kiddos. Our district adopted a new reading program last year and I had to attend-I swear-2 days of training on how to properly do a read-aloud. Pre-teach the vocabulary, do 12 turn-and-talks, put sticky notes of the questions you are going to ask throughout the books and what strategies you will model. In my opinion (and the opinion of these authors) it takes all the fun out of it. You forget what the story is even about if you keep stopping. I love to read a book beginning to end without any interruptions. I love when I look up and see all my kiddos engaged and wanting to know what happens next. We lose that with too much "teaching".
They also talk about what they feel is lacking in shared reading and guided reading. I really like their ideas for what we can ask. For example, in guided reading instead of saying "let's do a picture walk-look at that picture, what is the dog doing?" we would say "I see some of you are already looking at the pictures in the story, that's a great strategy". I know it seems like subtle differences, but in the long run I can see how much the prompting we so is creating dependent readers rather than the independent ones that we hope to encourage.
Anyway, Stenhouse actually has the whole text posted here: Who's Doing the Work?
If we know better, we do better-and I will from here on out! :)