How to Create a Nonreader
Alfie Kohn wrote a marvelous piece in the English Journal in 2010 on how educators can create nonreaders. As an English major and Language Arts teacher, this hits close to home. I begin every single day knowing that I have 5 gigs. 5 shows to perform. 5 opportunities to inspire and motivate my learners. Reading Kohn's article provided me with insight to some practices that may make my learners loath reading (something that I, myself, loathed in grade school as well) rather than help them find their place in the literacy world.
I am trying to promote literacy, not kill it. 21st century learners have the ability to find any piece of knowledge at their fingertips (literally). As educators, we need to understand the skills our 21st century learners need to acquire while keeping our instruction and practices relevant and meaningful. Here are the seven suggestions Kohn gives that teachers are doing that kills motivation in readers:
In the end, I am left with more questions than answers. How can we continue to make skills, lessons, activities, and texts relevant with meaningful content? How can we ensure we are helping to create a community of readers? How can we teach important literacy strategies to those who need them in a way that won't kill the reader inside them? What would it look like if we did away with grades? How can we know our learners are growing if we took grades away? How can learners continue to have a voice in their education?
These are the conversations we need to be having.
Kohn, A. (2010).How to create nonreaders: Reflections on motivation, learning, and sharing power. English Journal, 100 (1), 1-5.
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