Better at teaching writing than reading

September 15, 2007 at 3:25 pm | Posted in reading, teachers | 4 Comments

If you have browsed my blog enough, you will come to notice that I primarily blog about math and writing. Yup. I’m a better math and writing teacher than I am a reading teacher. So, here’s my challenge to myself for this next few weeks. I will reflect upon my practice as a teacher of reading, celebrate the successes, and work to improve myself. I am not looking forward to this exercise, reason being, I’m not good at teaching reading because I don’t have a enough understanding about how students learn to read.

I’ve read all the literature. I’ve taken the training workshops. I’ve done the prescribed curriculum. But I don’t “understand” it to the level that I can take ownership of it, differentiate instruction for my students, adapt curriculum to my teaching style, and so on.

Where is my gap?

Coaches eventually come around to saying, consider your own education because that is the paradigm through which you view your students’ education. Well, we have a problem there because I don’t know how I learned to read. By the age of four, I can read and write in two languages. Then, I immigrated to America at the age of five and within one year, I was top of my class academically, orally fluent in English, reading voraciously, and writing copious fantasy stories for my class assignments. This is not typical for my inner city students. Literacy comes very easy for me. Reading easiest of all. No wonder for the first year of my career as a teacher, I implicitly expect my students to come to me already knowing how to read and write. And I still consider myself a failure as a teacher of reading.

What about you?

What is your educational background? How does it affect your teaching? Do you have any resources that can help ME gain a deeper understanding of reading instruction.



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  1. What country did you emmigrate from, as a child, coming to the United States?

    Best regards,
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas (third grade)

  2. As always, I appreciate the introspection and thoughtfulness of your blog. I’ve responded here.

  3. Third time’s a charm….

    Second attempt to get the link to work:

  4. A very thought-provoking piece CT. Hmm, let me see, I guess that writing is a lot easier to ‘teach’ than reading as it is about expressing oneself through a ‘mechanical’ process. Reading is all about decoding others’ expressions and as such, can be made overt too. It is a lot harder to teach though because the decoding is largely invisible. I suppose the way to proceed would be to look at ways that you can model your own reading skills with your students. I feel a blog series coming on 🙂

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