NPR is continuing its
in-depth series on the Common Core with a look at the reading standards. And the
latest installment from Cory Turner begins with this killer lede: “Every set of academic standards has a soul.” Talk about setting a high bar—promising a soulful exploration of the often arid, arduous landscape of learning standards and reading instruction. But Turner delivers. I won’t give the whole plot away, but there’s a very insightful look at how teachers are working to find the critical balance between comfort and challenge when it comes to teaching reading to young students. And we get that look through the eyes of Jennifer Jump, an educator who began her career teaching in Iowa and now is director of elementary literacy for the Washington, D.C., public schools.
Jump recently led a training on close reading in D.C. and told the auditorium full of teachers not to underestimate their kids. "’Cause we've all done it, where we told kids darn near everything they needed to know," Jump said. "And we want to stop telling them everything and let them—I love the 'd' word we used over here—discover." For Jump, "struggle" is no longer a thing to be avoided, a dirty word.
The hard part, Turner’s piece points out, is finding the “right amount of struggle” for young readers, while also developing a love of reading and joy in exploration. That’s what is at the heart and…(oops, almost gave it away).
Michael Vaughn was the founding Communications Director of Education Post. Prior to that, Mike worked for 18 years in the communications offices of two urban school districts. He served in a variety of communications roles for the Chicago Public Schools starting in 1996, shortly after Mayor Richard M. Daley took control of CPS, and eventually served as the district's Communications Director until ...