Am I Being Obstinate?

Obstinate, is that me? Am I being obstinate ? Not a rhetorical question, I’m just trying to figure it out.

When we do running record and the students says, “Am I reading at a higher level? What’s my level? Am I doing good?” Then we’re not doing our job. What message are we sending our kids with these assessments? I cringe at the thought that we’ve made a huge error in judgement with all this “level” business. Yes our goals are to create readers who want to read, who understand and can discuss books with passion and interest; not just because comprehension is part of the assessment. Yes conferring gives us information in guiding our readers. And all of this can be done in many ways when we add more components to those running records! Yes we’ve gained so much insight about the methodology in teaching students reading and writing. Now we also need to show our students there is “life” beyond their reading level. We need to engage our students in reading throughout the day; not just with a pencil and a sheet of paper recording every nuance, every error or success. We need to have them see that the read aloud and the subsequent discussions gives teachers another layer of information to understand the readers in front of them. We need to honor their choice of books, those that call out to them.  I understand the expediency of running records. Oh I know they take time, that’s not the expediency I’m addressing. It’s the expediency of the “program” already designed, which makes grading easier or if you will more efficient. As I write this post I recall a previous rant  when I was still teaching kindergarten. Much has changed for me. Now I sub. With all my responsibilities as a substitute teacher, running records is not part of the job description. I see the one on one work involved in running records. I see the dedication, love and interest teachers have in their students as they work with them as “readers”. I see the students who love that time with their teachers! I also see the students who hesitate, who are unsure, who wonder if they’ll ever get “it” right?

So I’m still in a quandary. I have more questions then answers. I know some will scoff and call be obstinate or stubborn. I know some will wonder why I don’t let it go (especially since I’m retired). I’m not sure why this has me riled up. I’ve seen students feel empowered when they recognize how much they’ve grown in their reading and writing abilities. I’ve also seen students say, “is this good enough”. That’s when my heartaches. Can we say they are good and way more then enough?

As I reflect from where I sit, I wonder how this year has been for you and the students you teach? Do you have questions that remain unanswered? Have you been supported in concerns you may have? Are changes a possibility, if you feel it will make a difference for the students you teach?

I subbed in 2nd grade and it was a day they met with their 3 year old  Reading Buddies. Reading together and sharing their love of books!

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