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.