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The Importance Of Reading Essay

1018 words - 5 pages

As an English teacher, I understand how important reading is. I see, on a daily basis, the struggles of students who come from backgrounds where education and reading are not valued. I see the students who are strong readers excel, vastly outpacing their peers in the classroom and gaining opportunities for which other students didn’t even know to dream. As a psychology teacher, I can appreciate how critical it is that young children are exposed to reading in the home, how integral reading is to the development of their brains. As someone who is a lover of learning itself, I understand that, to get students to really be successful, we have to show them that education is something that they ...view middle of the document...

What really concerns me is that, not just with my own child, but with many of the children of people I have talked to in the community, A.R. is having the opposite effect on students that we as educators would hope for. Countless times in parent conferences, the same phrase can be heard. It usually occurs during a conversation about why a student is struggling in English and, almost verbatim, I have heard numerous frustrated parents say, “I just don’t understand. My child always loved reading until A.R…”. Any system that robs a child of their passion for learning, any program that takes the love of reading away from a child, in my opinion, is an epic failure.
Of course, we have to have a way to monitor student progress, to flag problem areas and target and address students’ weaknesses so that we can better serve them. But when multiple parents are saying that their child has begun disliking school or the act of reading because of one program, what does it take to make us as educators look at and evaluate the effectiveness of a tool we use? Do we have the statistical data to prove that A.R. is an effective to tool to increase reading skills in our elementary schools? If so, is there a way parents can access that information?
Perhaps it isn’t the tool itself. Perhaps it is more the implementation of it. Reading should never be viewed as a punishment. What kind of message would that send to students? In the end, it conditions them to see reading as the source of their unhappiness and discontent. That would never be any educator’s goal and would set them up for serious difficulties in their remaining years in education.
I know that many parents have shared concerns over using A.R. test results to take away privileges such as recess. I find this equally disturbing as there are numerous studies that show how important play and recess are to...

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