Jasmine LaneJasmine Lane is a first generation college graduate and an early-career High School English teacher in Minnesota. In her short time in the classroom, and through her own personal history, Ms. Lane knows all too well the negative and life-long impact that poor literacy skills have on students.  In her blog, “Literacy: The Forgotten Social Justice Issue,” Ms. Lane shares that her grandfather, Willie Lane, did not learn to read until he was in his 30s because he would have been “attacked, threatened, or possibly murdered for daring to be a Black Man reading in the Jim Crow south.”

Linda Diamond, president of CORE and author of the Teaching Reading Sourcebook, sat down with Ms. Lane, just a few short weeks after her beloved grandfather passed away, to talk further about how today’s failure to apply the science of reading to instruction continues to put young people, particularly those who have been marginalized and traditionally underserved, at a disadvantage and ill equipped to reach their full potential. (more…)

A must-read blog by Barbara Crook, an ELA editor at Victory Productions, that clearly articulates the flaws in balanced literacy.

An uneasy peace has settled over the land regarding phonics instruction and its critical contribution to reading competency. Since the heyday of whole language, phonics has returned to classrooms as part of a “balanced literacy” approach to reading.

Shouldn’t this put an end to the reading wars? Not so far, although the current state of the debate is a welcome de-escalation of the intense hostilities of the past. Critics of balanced literacy say it still does not emphasize enough the teaching of letter-sound correspondences in spoken language or sound-spelling relationships in written language, and that it relies too heavily on strategies long associated with whole language.

Keep reading on the Victory Productions website.

Dean BallardBy Dean Ballard, Director of Mathematics, CORE

Remote instruction has moved to the top of almost everyone’s list of concerns. We are asking ourselves how to do it, will students be there, what will actually be learned, and what will this mean when we return to face-to-face instruction? I cannot tackle all of this in one blog; however, I will share a few of the techniques we have been using in the last few months to create high levels of engagement online.

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Linda Diamond

by Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures

I just finished listening to Emily Hanford’s last podcast on APM, What the Words Say.

My husband wanted to know why I was crying.  I answered, “because I am so angry and so frustrated.” We have known for years how to teach reading, yet as a nation we still aren’t doing what we should. Reading instruction should not be a matter of personal philosophy or preference anymore than a medical intervention should be based on philosophy. Hanford’s most recent podcast hits so close to home. At CORE we had two consultants working with educators in juvenile court schools. They know that failure to learn to read is a direct route to prison. (more…)

Ann LeonLinda DiamondBy Ann Leon, M. A., Educational Services Consultant, and Linda Diamond, President, CORE

Because the current coronavirus pandemic has necessitated increased use of remote learning, thinking about the needs of our young students with dyslexia and other word-reading difficulties is of vital importance. How can we best teach these students in order to mitigate learning loss and to ensure that they become proficient readers? This is our challenge.

As a first priority these students need to continue to receive direct and explicit teaching. Although some of their learning can be done through targeted online curricula, they desperately need live teaching with a skillful teacher. Distance learning for these students has two purposes:

  1. to review and maintain previous learning, and
  2. to provide systematic, explicit, and intentional instruction of new learning

 

So how do we meet those two purposes through remote learning? (more…)

Linda Diamondby Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures

I discovered Jasmine Lane while listening to an Amplify podcast interview. After listening to her speak about equity and education and the power of literacy, I started reading her blogs and her pieces on Project Forever Free. Ms. Jasmine, as she goes by on her blog, is unafraid to speak the truth about the conditions of education that impede equity, in particular, the failure to teach reading based on the research evidence. A post at Project Forever Free that particularly moved me was one called “Literacy: The Forgotten Social Justice Issue.”

Ms. Jasmine opens with an account of her grandfather, who did not learn to read until in his 30s and who risked, if caught reading, being “attacked, threatened, or possibly murdered for daring to be a Black Man reading in the Jim Crow south.” Jasmine connects this account from her personal history to today’s failure to apply the science of teaching reading, resulting in too many children not able to read. Ms. Jasmine is a high school English teacher, on the receiving end of students arriving with poor literacy skills year after year. This is what she says that struck me so powerfully about why she starts with her grandfather’s history: (more…)

Zaretta HammondAn important Conversation from the Center for the Collaborative Classroom with Zaretta Hammond on Instructional Equity. Reprinted with permission.

Collaborative Classroom is dedicated to transforming the school experience, developing students, and empowering educators by deepening their teaching practices. Zaretta Hammond is one of Collaborative Classroom’s best thought partners in this work, consistently pushing their thinking and challenging them to do better. A national education consultant for the past 25 years and the author of the best-selling book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, Ms. Hammond joined the Collaborative Classroom Board of Trustees in November 2018. Collaborative Classroom recently had the privilege of discussing instructional equity­—both the big picture and classroom practice—with Ms. Hammond. We’re delighted to share excerpts from this rich, wide-ranging conversation with you. (more…)

Linda Diamondby Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures

I write to you, colleagues in education, with a deep sense of sadness and unease as I continue to watch the events that are unfolding in our communities and in our nation. At no time that I can recall has our country been so divided and so traumatized. We have been living in the midst of a public health crisis and an economic and unemployment crisis of staggering proportions. These conditions already impacted the most vulnerable in our country and hit the Black community hard. But now the chilling and brutal murder of George Floyd escalated the crisis in our country and rekindled fear and outrage, particularly among Black Americans for whom this killing is all too familiar. As educators striving for equity and educational and social justice, we must redouble our efforts to increase awareness of the discrimination that exists in our country and in our educational institutions. (more…)

CORE, Pivot learning, and Center for the Collaborative Classroom have been examining our own practices with a critical eye, looking for ways to better equip educators with the tools and support they need to connect with a diverse student population that has been adversely affected by school closures. When we look ahead, we understand school will likely look different in ways we cannot even imagine.

To support our educator partners, we offer guidance and resources that can be used over the summer and taken into the fall to support students both academically and socially. Pivot Learning’s CEO, Arun Ramanathan, and Collaborative Classroom’s President and COO, Kelly Stuart, share what we believe is essential for making sure our students don’t fall behind. Read their commentary on the Collaborative Circle blog.

Our partners at Center for the Collaborative Classroom recently interviewed Michelle Rodriguez, EdD, superintendent of Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) in Watsonville, California and CORE’ president, Linda Diamond about the current reality of remote learning, how and why Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words (SIPPS) is a key component of PVUSD’s impressive achievements in improving student literacy outcomes, and how a strong change-management approach has positioned PVUSD for long-term success. Read the interview in the Collaborative Circle blog.

Also be sure to read a commentary by Pivot Learning’s CEO, Arun Ramanathan, and Collaborative Classroom’s Kelly Stewart about the guidance and resources being offered by CORE, Pivot Learning and Collaborative Classroom that can be used over the summer and taken into the fall to support students both academically and socially. Read what we believe is essential for making sure our students don’t fall behind in Resources for Reconnecting and Accelerating Student Learning.