RM Winter 2016 FLIP

in the work of improving adolescent literacy while pursuing questions impacting the literate lives of teachers and adolescents.

Conclusion These four recommendations offer us a starting place for translating policy into practice; in this case getting that transition right is crucial not only for teachers but also for students. In South Carolina, Read to Succeed represents a new influx of resources as a response to data indicating longstanding reading challenges at the secondary school level. The state has committed money to support the establishment of programs beginning even before schooling to improve performance on literacy indicators. Teachers are an important part of this multi- pronged advocacy that expands far beyond their classrooms into the quality of life of the larger community. However, the way we conceptualize literacy is key to helping students see how different literacies have meaning in their lives. Improving adolescent academic literacy necessitates a broadened understanding of the reading, writing, reasoning and discourses within each discipline as well as the design of disciplinary literacy pedagogies that apprentice students into the practices used to construct knowledge. Unless we resist deficit perspectives of traditional print text, resist the desire to prescribe blanket solutions, and support teachers as they deepen understandings of literacy in their discipline, and create collaborative school communities dedicated to helping each student expand and grow, we run the risk of turning literacy instruction into even more detailed documentation of student failure. References Alvermann, D. E. (2001). Reading adolescents’reading identities: Looking back to seeahead. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy , 44 , 676–690. Coburn, C., Pearson, P.D., &Woulfin, S. (2011) Reading policy in the era ofaccountability. In Kamil, M., Pearson. P., Moje, E., & Afflerbach, P. (eds) Handbook of Reading Research, Volume IV. pp. 561-593. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (1999). Relationships of knowledge and practice: Teacher learning in communities. In A. Iran-Nudged & P.D. Pearson (Eds.), Review of research in education (p. 249-305). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association. Cohen, D. K., & Ball, D. L. (1999). Instruction, capacity, and improvement (CRPE Research Report No. RR-043). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Coleman, J. S., Campbell, E. Q., Hobson, C. G., McPartland, J., Mood, A. M., Weinfeld,G.D., et al. (1966). Equality of educational opportunity. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Au, W. & Tempel, M. (Eds.)(2012). Pencils down: Rethinking high stakes testing and accountability in public schools. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools. Clandinin, D.J. (1985). Personal, practical knowledge: A study of a teacher’s classroomimages. Curriculum Inquiry , 15 , 361-385.

3. The push for more engaged literacy learning needs to resist the desire to prescribe literacy activities and programs.

We cannot attempt to teacher-proof a literacy curriculum. Read to Succeed can be interpreted in two ways, either as a collection of ways we want our PSTs to think about and plan disciplinary literacy instruction in a classroom or as a list of prescriptive activities and assignments that limit teacher creativity and responsiveness to the classroom and the individual student. Prescriptive literacy is not something that R2S advocates for, especially in relation to adolescent literacy, but there are prescriptive elements of the bill, including the requirement that struggling readers complete ninety minutes of supplemental instruction per day after they are identified. It is a very real possibility that limited resources will reduce the richness of the legislation to the easiest implementation. For example, teachers are already reporting that there are department and county requirements for grammar instruction and daily oral practice, even though research indicates that grammar is best taught in context within mentor texts (Wilde, 2012). We need to ask ourselves how we integrate what we know about effective literacy engagement and what we know about effective teaching. We use the term engagement deliberately-- particularly in the secondary school setting, student engagement is one of the key aspects to cultivating deep literacy. Regardless of grade, however, motivation is a key aspect of literacy engagement, and prescribing a step-by-step activity guide will do more harm than good. On the contrary, when we pursue disciplinary inquiry with students and focus on the unsettled questions in our discipline, literacy practices become purposeful and essential to adolescent disciplinary learning. It is easy for teachers and students to measure worth with the tests, and to use what they believe the tests reveal to prescribe the potential of students. This is where sociocultural theory helps us understand the range of experiences and ways of engaging with text that fall outside testable competencies. We need to teach PSTs in ways that allow them to see a test score as one potentially useful piece of data amongst many other pieces of data. We need to teach PSTs to administer low stakes literacy surveys, to critically observe adolescents out-of-school activities, and to carefully observe what students are doing and saying before they make an assessment of student literacies. Focusing on limitations places a ceiling on student success, but using that information to design instructional responses allows teachers to provide students with the respectful instruction needed to scaffold disciplinary literacies. This is a subtle shift in orientation, but to put it plainly, if we are assessing literacy only to identify student deficits and this assessment of literacy is always formal, we see students as failing from the onset. If we see the assessment of literacy as a way to enhance already existing competencies and tie it to classroom practice, we see students and their interactions with text as places to grow. 4. Use a yes/and perspective about student competency rather than a deficit perspective of student disciplinary literacy.

Reading Matters Commentary

Darling-Hammond, L. (2013). Powerful teacher education: Lessons from ExemplaryPrograms. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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