July 17, 2016
“Another Teacher Vents About Guided Reading”
From Donna Garner
After I posted the Texas classroom teacher’s comments about the misguided Guided Reading curriculum (by Fountas and Pinnell) being used across the country, I received the following from another reading teacher who is totally disenchanted with Guided Reading. I am also keeping this second teacher’s name confidential to protect her from any retaliation from her local school district.
[The link to the first teacher’s complaint is posted at the bottom of this page.]
FROM ANOTHER DISENCHANTED READING TEACHER:
As a middle school reading teacher in a district that has used Guided Reading in elementary school since 2003, I can agree 100% with that letter! If your reading program is strong, you shouldn’t need a reading intervention program at the middle school level; yet the administration doesn’t seem to make that connection!
Each year, the building I teach at receives about 120 incoming 6th graders who are testing from 1.5 to 3 grade levels behind in reading vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension! We have four middle schools in our large district and the others receive even more students!
It’s our policy to place those kids (who are testing well below grade level in reading) in a two-hour reading intervention class for two years to catch them up. During that time, they don’t get to take any elective classes such as drama, band, or art since the reading class fills their schedule. Believe it or not, many parents will opt their child out of reading intervention in order to free up space in their schedule for the fun elective classes!
To make matters worse, the founders of the Guided Reading program have developed one for the middle school level! My district decided to adopt and use this Guided Reading middle-school reading program this school year.
I was asked to go to summer training to teach it since I had already taught the elementary version for 8 years prior to moving to middle school. I told them no!
I tried to explain my reasoning, but it was a done deal. No one understood my point of view.
I well remember when I initially attended training in Guided Reading back in 2003. The authors, Fountas and Pinnell, told us that this reading approach was going to close the gap and turn kids into lifelong readers!
They said it would end the need for remedial programs all together! In fact, it has only increased the need for reading intervention as my numbers increase each year!
To this mix, add Common Core; and we have a reading crisis on our hands unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my 20 years teaching!
Now, our school is going to use a new reading program [Guided Reading for middle school] based on the failed program [Guided Reading for the elementary grades] to intervene with students who are not making progress in the reading program which I teach!
I have no words for the sheer lack of understanding and unwillingness to actually research facts and do the right thing! At least I am not being forced to teach this Guided Reading for middle schoolers because another teacher volunteered to do it!
This is the true and sad reality in which we live! I only hope I can make it nine more years until I’m eligible to retire!