Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday Sayings: Less Parent-Dependent



Richard Allington doesn't seem to beat around the bush.  Next to this quote in my copy of What Really Matters for Struggling Readers it says, "Yes and how?" That was my response when I read it for the first time.  I want that kind of school and that kind of classroom, but honestly I don't completely know how to pull it off.  

I can't speak for other grade levels, but as a first grade teacher I certainly do rely on parents to help me out.  At least I ask them to.  My expectation is nightly reading.  That's all I ever ask of my kids at home, but my little ones need an adult who will also commit to an investment in reading.  That means that every year there are handfuls of readers who do all or most of their reading exclusively at school.  

If I understand Richard Allington correctly, he's saying that the instruction in my classroom had better be so powerful, that what happens or doesn't happen at home won't make or break us.  I can only control what I can control.  The success of my readers can't be dependent on what takes place outside of my classroom's four walls.  

Some might say that Richard's request is a lofty one and I get that, but I do think he's right.  It's a request I'd sure like to succeed at, but I can't say that my classroom is as less parent-dependent as he or I would like.  I sure do believe parents should be involved and it pays off when they are, but what will I do when they aren't?     

I'm happy to send you to read another Saturday Saying by Jennifer today.  She's my lovely guest and will no doubt bless your morning and mine.

Jennfier

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20 comments:

  1. It's SO true. Often times I'll hear a comment about an English Language Learner who can't do this or that because they don't speak English at home. While that might be a challenge that the child next to him/her might not have, we have to intentionally not let that be a reason for lowered expectations.

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    1. Barbara, some students do have amazing challenges to overcome. I sure do hope our classrooms are powerful places that meet their needs.

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  2. You are right, Richard Allington says it like he means it!
    We have to do all we can regardless of what may or may not happen at home. That is out of our control. Keep our expectations high and do all that we can during the time we have them. :)
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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    1. Lori, I imagine Richard Allington could definitely give me some tips about how to lift the level of instruction for all my kids.

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  3. Your quote is interesting to me as a junior high teacher. I teach and run our AVID program, which requires kids to be determined to make their success happen. What I've found, however, is that when I can work with the families and create a team approach to struggling students, we have much more success. Often I find it isn't that the parents don't want to help, it's that they don't know how to help. Thanks for featuring my Saturday Sayings post today, too!

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    1. Jennifer, thank you for joining me today. I enjoyed your post but couldn't find a place to leave a comment. Thanks for adding your thoughts to my Saturday!

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  4. It is for sure parental involvement that can make or break a child's first years as a reader, as much as we try for it not to be. I am lucky to have some awesome parents at my school.

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    1. I'm glad that you have awesome parents at your school. I'm lucky to have many of those too.

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  5. I'm with you, Tammy. I have learned in my few years of teaching that I have to work with what I'm given in the area of parental support. In our school, there are very involved parents and then those that...aren't. It is difficult, but I think our school does a great job of working with kiddos while we have the chance.

    Crystal
    Teaching Little Miracles

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    1. Crystal, thank you for your comment today. I sure do hope to meet the needs of those who don't have parental support in a more powerful way.

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  6. This is so true. It is so difficult sometimes when you know you're trying to make up for years of lost support from home. But every child deserves the best (and a chance to get caught up), so we have to get on with it! Great reminder Tammy-thank you.

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    1. Kelli, "We have to get on with it!" I like that.

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  7. I love your post Tammy. I think you should write a book. I am finding (teaching k) that the parents that do work with their kids at home are encouraging some BAD reading habits. I can tell that the parents are stressing sounding out and noting else!!! I also have a few parents that encouraging chapter books that are clearly too difficult!!!! Yes they may decode some of the words in the text but they are not reading with fluency. The kids who's parents have not been pushing reading are the ones who are making amazing progress. I know in first grade it is different because that is the year that we expect kids to read and practice is so important!! Love your post. Love Richard Allington!

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    1. Melissa, I sincerely thank you for your vote of confidence. That means a lot coming from you!

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  8. I agree, you should write a book. Your posts are always so well thought out and always get me thinking! It took me a while when I taught kindergarten in a very low income area to figure out the best way to encourage the parents to read to the kids (my goal for their involvement). Right from the start, I sent home a book each night . I started getting parents (or older siblings) involved when I finally started sending home very short, easy readers as well as books that the kids loved when I read them in class. The downside was books often didn't come back (if I made a big deal about returning them, they weren't taken out of the backpack). I figured the upside of losing my books was that my kids' houses would have books in them. I understand Richard Allington's point but I think that helping support the children's families in supporting their children is a valuable goal (and different than relying on the families to make school work for their children). As always, thanks for your insight.
    Lyn

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    1. Lyn, our parents do indeed need to know how to support their children while our classroom instruction continues to improve. (Thanks for coming by again.)

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  9. I have been thinking about this saying all week! Supportive parents would be so wonderful....but this year I wish for that support with student behavior. Sad, because despite their awful behavior, academically they are great and could be so inspiring to others.

    Laurie
    Chickadee Jubilee

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    1. Laurie, yes 100% support both academically and behaviorally would be great. I know you do amazing things with those kids regardless though.

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  10. Nightly reading and sight word review are the only "homework" I ever give and it always amazes me that the families who follow through have the best little readers:) School and home support definitely goes hand in hand. Thanks for another awesome post, Tammy!
    Barbara
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

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    1. Barbara, there's sure a correlation between home and school! :)

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