Literacy at the Crossroads by Regie Routman. Crucial Talk About Reading, Writing, and Other Teaching Dilemmas - Heinemann Publishing
Literacy at the Crossroads

Literacy at the Crossroads

Crucial Talk About Reading, Writing, and Other Teaching Dilemmas

    Regie's insight, practical suggestions, and can-do approach can't help but inspire teachers—and parents! This was a real page turner for me.
    —Patricia Broderick, Teaching K8
From ill-informed politicians, parents, and news reporters, the message is clear: whole language is to blame for illiteracy, declining test scores, and poor spelling and grammar skills. But is whole language—when accurately understood and practiced—truly at fault? Shouldn't we first question the ways in which teachers are trained, students are assessed, educators and parents are communicating, and funds are
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    Regie's insight, practical suggestions, and can-do approach can't help but inspire teachers—and parents! This was a real page turner for me.
    —Patricia Broderick, Teaching K8
From ill-informed politicians, parents, and news reporters, the message is clear: whole language is to blame for illiteracy, declining test scores, and poor spelling and grammar skills. But is whole language—when accurately understood and practiced—truly at fault? Shouldn't we first question the ways in which teachers are trained, students are assessed, educators and parents are communicating, and funds are allocated?

Literacy at the Crossroads takes a hard look at these issues. By informing teachers about what's really happening in our schools, Routman opens up the educational dialogue and disproves some of the misconceptions that threaten good practice. She describes and clarifies critical concerns, suggesting actions we must take so that, in her words, "we can continue to do what's right and best for children."

True, there are problems with schools in America—but, according to Routman, back-to-basics instruction is not the solution. What's needed are teachers who are clear about their goals and outspoken about their beliefs. Here is a book that shows them how.


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Contents

Contents:
I. DEALING WITH THE POLITICS OF EDUCATION

1. Understanding the Backlash: What's Going on in Reading and Writing?
School Bashing: Do We Deserve the "Hits"?
Are Kids Poorer Readers Today?
Raising Our Goals for Teaching Reading
Are Kids Poorer Spellers Today?
The Controversy Over Phonics and Whole Language
Messages Parents Receive
Media Hype
Television's Prescriptive Point of View
Learning to Deal with the Media
What We Can Do to Get Our Messages Out

2. Lessons and Legacies from the Nineties: Learning from California and Other Places
California: Complex Issues Without Simple Solutions
Alief, Texas: Educators and Parents Learning to Work Together
Littleton, Colorado: A Conflict in Values and Beliefs
Fairfax County, Virginia: Innovation with Community Support

3. Whole Language: Rhetoric and Realities
Whole Language Hasn't Failed: We Have Failed Whole Language
What's Gone Wrong? Misinterpreting Whole Language
I'm Whole Language—I Don't Teach Phonics
Whole Language Teaching Requires More Support and Time to Evolve
Making Parents Part of the Process
What Does Whole Language Really Mean?
Defining Whole Language
Beliefs About Whole Language
Some Misconceptions of Whole Language
Some Key Principles and Practices of Whole Language
Whole Language at the University: An Excellent Model in Practice
Dissenting Voices in the Ranks
Reading Recovery Does Fit Under the Whole Language Umbrella
It's Not Necessary to Have Total Agreement to Have Unity

4. Becoming Political in Our Schools: The Need to Be Articulate, Astute, and Active
The Politics of Change
A Genuine Committee Process: Not Business as Usual
Lessons from Our Process of Change
Necessary Partnerships

II. BACK TO BASICS AND OTHER TEACHING DILEMMAS

5. Back to Basics: What Does It Mean?
Those Were the Good Old Days
Using Real Books and Paper and Pencil
Reviewing the Language-Learning Research of the Seventies
Understanding Language Learning by Looking at Ourselves
What We Can Do to Provide Good, Solid Reading Instruction
What We Can Do to Provide Good, Solid Writing Instruction
Reenvisioning "Back to Basics"

6. Phonics Phobia
Beyond "Sounding It Out"
What Does the Research Say About Phonics?
Commonsense Views About Phonics
The Push for Intensive Systematic Phonics: Why and How?
What We Can Do to Keep Phonics in Perspective

7. Spelling, Grammar, Handwriting, and Other "Questionable" Practices
Teaching the Skills
We Need to Do More Teaching
Sometimes, It's Okay to Tell Them
What's Happened to the Teaching of Spelling?
Putting Invented Spelling in Perspective
So, How Should I Teach Spelling?
Where Does Grammar Fit In?
We Still Need to Teach and Value Handwriting

8. Other Dilemmas
Using a Published Series: Pros and Cons
We Must Preserve Our Libraries
Teacher Education: Not Just the Job of the University
Changing Demographics
Standardized Testing and How to Deal with It
Still More Dilemmas

III. EMPOWERMENT FOR LIFE

9. What Happens When We Empower Students and Teachers
Choice with Intention
Seeing Evaluation Through a New Lens
What Makes a Good Teacher?

10. Leading the Literacy Life We Want Our Students to Lead
Inquiry and Change: Become a Teacher-Researcher
Cultivate Your Interests
Take Charge of Your Own Professional Development and Learning
Using Our Literate Selves as Models for Teaching
Envisioning Ourselves as Writers
Make Time for Reflection, Writing, and Action

IV. APPENDIXES

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