By Alvin Irby
I hope you’ve had an amazing September. Each month, I look forward to sharing with you a handful of the most thought provoking articles I have read during the past 30 or so days.
Here’s what I read this month:
All students benefit from explicit literacy instruction based on best practices and research. Unfortunately, many educators have created a false dichotomy between whole language and phonics. Balanced literacy was supposed to blend these two camps but when balanced literacy is used merely to disguise rigid whole language strategies that ignore or fail to properly teach phonics problems arise. Focusing exclusively on phonics without careful consideration of how to increase a child’s vocabulary, world knowledge, and intrinsic motivation to read isn’t the answer either. When implemented correctly, I believe balanced literacy can be very effective at helping kids learn to read. Read more
I see parallels between American society’s denial of innocence to Black boys and the children’s publishing industry, which often denies young Black male characters carefree and imaginative childhoods, but instead tasks them with overcoming slavery and segregation. We must actively fight for our Black boys to be seen and treated as the children that they are – both in literature and in life. Read more
A dad of two African-American boys, founder of The Young Dreamers’ Book Club and doctorate of Social and Comparative Analysis in Education created a holistic book list rooted in “dreaming” that will have Black boys saying: I am confident, I am loved, I am a smart student, I am an innovator and creator, and I am a hero. Read more
Some elected officials believe libraries are obsolete and branches are shutting down, yet ⅔ of Americans say closing a branch would have a major impact on their community. Few influential people understand the founding principle of the public library, that people of all different backgrounds and interests deserve free, open access to culture and shared spaces. Read more
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