The Sciences of Reading (and yes I mean Sciences, not Science) by Dr. Sam Bommarito

The Sciences of Reading (and yes I mean Sciences, not Science) by Dr. Sam Bommarito

There has been a lot of push back lately about the Science of Reading folks and the claims that they are making about the best ways to teach reading. I have long taken a centrist position on the “Great Debate”, maintaining that no one “side” has all the answers and that the sensible approach is for all sides to listen to one another and learn from one another. LINK I call this approach the “Reading Evolution”. LINK

Who are these Science of Reading folks and why the current backlash to the ideas they promote?  SOR in its current iteration is the product of a group of educators influenced by the ideas of Louisa Moats. Moats claims that our current problems in the teaching of reading are caused by the failure to adopt practices like the ones described in the PDF, Reading Is a Rocket Science LINK or in this description of the Science of Reading by Holly Lane, University of Florida. LINK As we will see, critics of Moat’s approach charge that she and her supporters are a small minority of educators trying to force their views on everyone. Paul Thomas is among those critics, saying that this action of forbidding all practices except those advocated by the “Science of Reading” group  is both  hurtful and counterproductive LINK.  More about that in a minute.

Readers are invited to consider three of the major push back pieces that have emerged in the past year.

The first is the National Education Policy Center’s statement as described in Diane Ravitch’s March 2020 blog.   LINK  The upshot is that there is no “science of reading.” NEPC states that “It’s time for the media and political distortions to end, and for the literacy community and policymakers to fully support the literacy needs of all children.”

Another push back came from a December 2020 You Tube video created by George Hruby from the Collaborative Center of Literacy Development- University of Kentucky

Some key points made in his video:

  • Hruby maintains SOR advocates are wrong in saying the science is settled. Science is never settled.
  • He thinks it is more accurate to talk about the Sciences of Reading.
  • He views the Science of Reading as a branding designed to sell curriculum.
  • He described a number of programs in the past that used similar methods to the ones found in the SOR and maintained that in the end these programs were no more effective than what a good teacher could accomplish using methods that are far less costly than SOR methods.
  • He outlined the limits and limitations of other SOR claims


The most recent push back came in the form of a piece written by Valerie Strauss, a reporter for the Washington Post. In it she details the views of David Reinking, professor emeritus at Clemson University and a former president of the Literacy Research Association; Victoria J. Risko, professor emerita at Vanderbilt University and a former president of the International Literacy Association; and George G. Hruby, an associate research professor of literacy and executive director of the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development at the University of Kentucky. The link to the full article requires a subscription to the Washington Post. LINK.  

The article is entitled Is there really a ‘science of reading’ that tells us exactly how to teach kids to read? The short answer to the question raised by the article is no, there is not. Here are some highlights from that article:

  • More worrisome, a majority of states have enacted, or are considering, new laws mandating how reading must be taught and setting narrow criteria for labeling students as reading disabled.
  • These themes make for a compelling journalistic narrative and they can benefit for-profit interests outside mainstream education, particularly during a pandemic when many parents are seeking help teaching reading at home. But, they also obscure established evidence that teaching reading is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor (bolding is mine). Overlooked is the common ground shared by those who draw different conclusions on the finer points of available research.
  • Instead, reasonable differences exist along a continuum. On one end are those who see phonics as the foundation of learning to read for all students. To them, phonics — lots of it — is the essential ingredient that ensures success for all students learning to read, and it must be mastered before other dimensions of reading are taught.
  • On the other end are those who see phonics as only one among many dimensions of learning to read — one that gains potency when integrated with meaningfully engaged reading and writing, with vocabulary and language development, with instruction aimed at increasing comprehension and fluency, and so forth.
  • One example is a critical review of several meta-analyses (comprehensive statistical analyses of effects across hundreds of studies), which was published recently in a highly regarded, peer-reviewed journal. It found no clear advantage for programs with a strong emphasis on phonics compared to those foregrounding other approaches (click on this).

Taken together I think these recent developments strongly support a centrist position. The limited and limiting point of view of the so-called Science of Reading advocates are not scientific at all. I have on a number of occasions called for using all the evidence from all the forms of research. Some important figures in the research world seem to have drawn similar conclusions. In a September 2020  U Tube interview called Unpacking the Science of Reading: A Conversation with Editors of Reading Research Quarterly, Amanda P. Goodwin, Co-Editor of the Reading Research Quarterly has this to say about research (1:18 on the video) :  

“In terms of the broad piece there is no one science that matters, it’s not just experimental research, not just qualitative research, it’s not just quantitative research we are using all and every methodology to figure out this multifaceted thing called reading….” LINK

So, I’m in favor of exploring the Sciences of Reading. I favor tweaking programs and finding common ground. LINK.  I favor finding out all we can from successful practitioners using the science of reading. LINK. I favor looking at the teaching of reading as both art and science and to fully explore the issues of of fluency and prosody. LINK. I favor exploring all the research around brain research LINK. I think it is time to empower teachers by providing in-service in all the ways to teach decoding LINK . I also think it is time to provide them the in-service needed to learn the skills and strategies measured by state tests of reading instruction (as opposed to tests of decoding).  These skills and strategies include those like the ones presented by Nell Duke and others at the 2019 ILA convention. LINK.  I think the time is long overdue for folks to start listening to the teachers of reading so that we can have a Reading Evolution. Maybe a Reading Evolution will finally bring that famous (infamous) swinging pendulum to a stop in the middle so we can learn from each other the teaching skills needed to become effective teachers of reading.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

More About Dr. Tim Rasinski and the Art and Science of Reading by Dr. Sam Bommarito

More about Rasinski and the Art and Science of Reading by Dr. Sam Bommarito

The response to last week’s interview of Dr. Tim Rasinski was overwhelming. Almost 1,200 views during the week and many positive comments. This week I have a birthday coming up (the day after Valentine’s Day) and I plan to spend time with my family. I am also doing a fundraiser for St. Louis Black Authors on my Facebook page as part of my birthday celebration.

I thought this would be a good time to repost links to my “best of Rasinski” blogs. I include the one where he came to St. Louis and his views about the Art and Science of reading. There are lots of additional insights into his ideas in that post.

Enjoy the reposts! In the coming weeks I will continue to talk to literacy leaders from many different positions and I will be doing a post about The Sciences of Reading (and yes the “s” belongs in there!). Until then Happy Reading and Writing!

An earlier interview with Tim when he came to St. Louis

What Tim had to say when he came to look at what we were doing at my school:

Activities I do based on the work of Rasinski and Mellissa Cheesman Smith:

My first post about Tim his work made when he came to present to our local ILA group in St. Louis:

Go to https://mla31.wildapricot.org/ to register for the final FREE session of Tim’s Webinar on Feb 23!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Dr. Timothy Rasinski: His views on fluency & the art and science of the teaching of reading- An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Dr. Timothy Rasinski: His views on fluency & the art and science of the teaching of reading- An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Here are a few facts about Tim taken from his biography on his website

  • Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University
  • He is the director of its award-winning reading clinic. He has written over 200 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited over 50 books on curriculum programs in reading education.
  • His research on reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in many professional journals.
  • He was the first author of the fluency chapter for the Handbook of Reading Research.
  • He was the co-editor of The Reading Teacher & Journal of Literacy Research.
  • In 2010, Dr. Rasinski was elected into the International Reading Hall of Fame.

I was very excited when Dr. Tim Rasinski agreed to this interview. He answers the five questions listed below. What I like most about Tim’s ideas is that they are both research-based and involve engaging authentic ways to teach.  His word ladders are a fun way to do word work that gives children a good handle on orthographic information.  His activities to teach prefixes, suffixes and roots are engaging and informative. They also build the background children need to develop a large vocabulary. The time-stamped questions below allow you to jump to whatever question you care to study.  Tim views the teaching of reading as both art and science. I must agree.

At the end of the blog, there are links to Tim’s sites.  There is also a link to the Missouri Literacy webpage.  MLA is hosting a webinar by Tim on February 23. His topic is Comprehension. The webinar is free to all.  Once you are on the MLA site, follow the links to register.  See you there.

The time-stamped questions are below. A link to the video interview follows them.  (BTW- I experienced a bit of technical difficulty that resulted in the questions being a little hard to hear. I’m sorry for that inconvenience; please bear with that very small part of the video)

  1.  Why does fluency seem to be such a difficult to understand reading competency? 05:00
  1. Is there one instructional strategy you would recommend for teaching/promoting fluency? 10:42
  1. You’re also big into word study, especially word roots.  Can you tell more about that? 19:25
  1. What about your word ladders – It’s a word game, but do they really help kids learn about how words work? 26:06
  1. You’ve recently written about the art of teaching reading. What do you mean by that and why is it important?  31:06

Link to Tim’s Website: http://www.timrasinski.com/

Be sure to check out the resources section- it includes commercial resources, e.g., The Megabook of Fluency. He also provides a lot of free educational material to download.

Follow Tim on Twitter- @TimRasinski1

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Tim provides free samples of his various commercial materials.  These posts have become immensely popular on Twitter!

For more helpful information you can also follow Tim’s Megabook of Fluency co-author Melissa Cheesman Smith on Twitter- @MCheesmanSmith

BE SURE TO VISIT THE MISSOURI LITERACY ASSOCIATION WEBSITE TO SIGN UP FOR TIM’S COMPREHENSION WEBINAR ON FEBRUARY 23! WHILE THERE YOU CAN ALSO LISTEN TO 3 PREVIOUS WEBINARS TIM HAS DONE FOR MLA.

https://mla31.wildapricot.org/

Interview copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Denyse Ritchie Interview: The THRASS institute provides a road (not the road) for creating empowered, informed. teachers Blog entry by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Denyse Ritchie Interview: The THRASS institute provides a road (not the road) for creating empowered, informed. teachers Blog entry by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Last week I said it had been over five decades since the 1st-grade studies were carried out LINK. That complete and comprehensive set of studies laid the groundwork for all future studies of the teaching of reading. They demonstrated that no one method works for every child every time.  They found that teachers predicted more of the variance in reading achievement than particular methods. In a nutshell- good teachers get good results. My conclusions about what good literacy instruction should look like are the same now as they were then. The best path to improving literacy instruction is to empower teachers. Train them in both the art and the science of teaching. Give them a background in all the ways to break the code and all the ways to help children make meaning. Empowered, informed teachers are the key to a successful literacy program. One size never has and never will fit all LINK.

Last week I had the privilege of talking to one such empowered, informed teacher. Her name is Narelle Lynch.  Last week as you listened to her talk about her teaching, you saw the depth of knowledge she has about orthographic information and her openness to learning about all ways of providing reading instruction LINK . Your feedback was quite positive, and that blog post had almost triple the usual visits.

Narelle received a great deal of training at the Thrass Institute in Australia. This week I interviewed Denyse Ritchie, the head of THRASS in Australia.  There are some things to keep in mind as you listen to the interview. As Denyse talks during the interview, she uses one of the forms of a THRASS chart. I have done a screen capture from the THRASS Facebook page that includes a copy of the chart.  Know that it takes a great deal of training to make proper use of the chart. Also, notice that spelling and writing are important aspects of the program.  I hope the information in this screen capture will give you the background you need to listen to what Denyse has to say and to learn how she is able to foster the creation of empowered, informed teachers of reading

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE INTERVIEW- ENJOY!!!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka the guy in the center happily taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

PS If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

LINKS TO THRASS SITES

There are two major THRASS hubs in the world- one in Australia and one in England. Each serves specific parts of the globe. For folks in the US and Canada, please go to the UK site. Folks in Australia use the Australian site. In sum, when using links for services/materials provided below, be sure to use the links for your particular area of the globe.

THE MAP -users click on their country to be taken to the appropriate web site.

http://thrass.com

The UK link

http://www.thrass.co.uk

THRASS -Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills THRASS UK is licensed to supply customers in the UNITED KINGDOM, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA (and the Cayman and Caribbean islands), the www.thrass.co.uk

Narelle Lynch Interview: Empowered, informed Australian teacher talks about her highly successful approach to literacy instruction. Blog entry by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Narelle Lynch Interview: Empowered, informed Australian teacher talks about her highly successful approach to literacy instruction. Blog entry by Dr. Sam Bommarito

It has been over five decades since the 1st-grade studies were carried out LINK. That complete and comprehensive set of studies laid the groundwork for all future studies of the teaching of reading. They demonstrated that no one method works for every child every time.  They found that teachers predicted more of the variance in reading achievement than particular methods. In a nutshell- good teachers get good results. My conclusions about what good literacy instruction should look like are the same now as they were then. The best path to improving literacy instruction is to empower teachers. Train them in both the art and the science of teaching. Give them a background in all the ways to break the code and all the ways to help children make meaning. Empowered, informed teachers are the key to a successful literacy program. One size never has and never will fit all LINK.

Last week I had the privilege of talking to one such empowered, informed teacher. Her name is Narelle Lynch. As you listen to her talk about her teaching, notice the depth of knowledge she has about orthographic principles and how she uses that knowledge to help her 1st and 2nd grade become successful readers (10:21 on the video). She received a great deal of training at the Thrass Institute in Australia. I will be interviewing the head of the institute in the near future about their program. In the meantime, have a look and a listen to a person I consider a master teacher and find out what she does to help her children down the path of becoming successful readers (and writers!).

Here is the link to the interview:

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka the guy in the center happily taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

BTW- to follow Narelle on her blog use this LINK.

Sign up for Nikki Grimes workshop- The Power of Poetry: A Tool for Helping Young People Process Trauma (details in the blog) by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Sign up for Nikki Grimes workshop- The Power of Poetry: A Tool for Helping Young People Process Trauma (details in the blog) by Dr. Sam Bommarito

(I normally post my blog entries every Saturday morning. I will do so tomorrow. But today, I’m doing an extra blog entry to get the word out about this Write to Learn event).

As many of my readers know, I am the President of the Missouri Literacy Association. Every year MLA co-sponsors the Write to Learn Conference. This year the Conference was virtual. It consisted of a series of 4 different speakers. That part is now over.

Because of the positive response to the initial conference series, it has been decided to add a 5th series featuring three different authors. On Feb. 11, Allan Wolf will present “Active Voice: Immersing Young Readers and Writers in Language and Content.” On Feb., 18th John Claude Bemis will present “Exercising that Imagination.” Then Feb. 25th, Nikki Grimes will present “The Power of Poetry: A Tool for Helping Young People Process Trauma. The full description of the series is in the screen capture below.  Interested? Sign up using the link below- One low price for all three workshops. See the sessions page link for dates, times and descriptions of all three workshops.      

Link to register: https://web.cvent.com/event/bf32ad3e-cd74-4eaf-87b3-ca33a66b00fd/websitePage:4a1c2a20-7caa-4213-88ac-4dab8e154a03

Sessions page (scroll down to view content/format of these last three sessions)

https://web.cvent.com/event/bf32ad3e-cd74-4eaf-87b3-ca33a66b00fd/websitePage:25fe4d70-c8ab-4cc5-ae3d-d505160d3a55

Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Promotes Cooperation and Collaboration Among the Region’s Literacy Organizations. By Dr. Sam Bommarito

St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Promotes Cooperation and Collaboration Among the Region’s Literacy Organizations.  By Dr. Sam Bommarito

This week, I talked to Lisa Greening, head of the newly formed organization- Turn the Page- St. Louis. I first met Lisa when she was the head of Ready Readers, another St. Louis literacy organization. She invited several area literacy leaders to get together and talk about what was going on in the region. In those days, these were face to face meetings. Magical things began to happen because this group did more than just talk. They began bouncing ideas off each other and thinking of ways to help each other. It was an eclectic group that included professors, ILA organizations, the YMCA, book distribution organizations, regional libraries, area school districts and Julius Anthony’s St. Louis Black Authors (remember him from last week?). In this interview, Lisa talks about how seeing what was happening in this group inspired her to create Turn the Page- St. Louis, which she modeled after Turn the Page- Kansas City. In the interview, she talks about the path she has followed and the things the new group she spearheads has already done. One of these things is getting Playtime Pads to thousands of area preschoolers with no or limited access to the internet (see timestamp 13:50).   Please listen to the interview to find out about what has happened already and what is coming. I hope it inspires readers to organize similar efforts in their own regions or become aware of and support such efforts.

Here is a link to the interview:

The timestamps below will allow you to skip to particular topics that interest you the most: 

0.00  Lisa explains her background in education, which includes becoming certified as a teacher and becoming an administrator in various non-profit groups that support literacy causes. As indicated earlier, she is currently the head of Turn the Page-St. Louis.

4:20 Lisa talks about creating Turn the Page- St. Louis and how she modeled it after Turn the Page- Kansas City.  It was designed to overcome the fragmentation and lack of communication that characterized the local literacy scene before Turn the Page was created.

9:46 Lisa talks about the organizations and individuals involved in Turn the Page- St. Louis and creating a 5-point literacy initiative. Readers should expect an update of this interview in late summer or fall to report on the results of the implementation of her 5-point literacy initiative.

13:50- Lisa talks about how this group’s efforts resulted in well over 2000 St. Louis area preschoolers getting PBS Playtime Pads. The Playtime Pads have over 80 educational apps that can be used with or without the internet, meaning these children could access literacy apps even when wi-fi was not available. Dr. Shea Kerkhoff of the University of Missouri-St. Louis was instrumental in getting the funding for the project and the local PBS station allowed us to purchase the pads at cost.

17:17- Lisa talks about another thing Dr. Shea Kerkhoff from UMSL has done, which is to get an 18 million dollar grant for the state of Missouri. The grant awards were just announced, and several area schools will be getting extensive P.D. for teachers.

20:37- Lisa talks about another P.D. initiative created through Julius B. Anthony’s work. It is called “Racially Relevant Literacy in Pre-K through the Third-Grade classroom.  

23:05 Final Remarks

I am in awe of the work Lisa and her group has already done and look forward to reporting on how that work progresses over the summer. I am proud that my Missouri Literacy Association and St. Louis Regional Literacy members have been an important part of this work. I am grateful that all the literacy organizations/non-profits in the St. Louis region seek to cooperate and collaborate. BTW- I would love to hear about things that might be happening in your region.

Next week I’m excited to announce that I will be sharing an interview with a Master Teacher from Australia. That interview has already been completed. I also plan to interview the head of the Thrass Institute in Australia. So, please stay tuned. Exciting things are coming up over the next few weeks.

Happy Reading & Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (Ready to Read-St. Louis groupie!)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog

ALSO, FIND TURN THE PAGE-STL ON FACEBOOK (@turnthpagestl)

https://turnthepagestl.org/

A St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Talks About His Amazing Work in Promoting Literacy. By Dr. Sam Bommarito

Julius Anthony Interview: A St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Talks About His Amazing Work in Promoting Literacy.  By Dr. Sam Bommarito

Last week, on the day before the sad events at our nation’s Capital unfolded, I had the privilege of talking to Julius Anthony. Julius is doing amazing things in the St. Louis Region (and beyond!).  I think it is important that when we have so many things that cause us concern, we take the time to look at what’s right. Julius’ literacy endeavors are indeed an example of what’s right and an inspiration for the future. As you listen to the interview, here is what you will find (use the timestamps to skip to particular topics):

0.00  Julius explains his background in education, which includes extensive work as both a teacher and administer in urban areas. He is president of both the St. Louis Black Authors and the St. Louis Regional Literacy Association, an ILA Affiliate.

1.36 Julius talks about his Believe project. The project has established many sites throughout the St. Louis Region, where students can read rich and varied collections of books by black authors. Many of these books are by local authors who visit these sites from time to time. The sites are designed to be comfortable and even include murals by local artists. One of them is located in the Ferguson Community Center.

5.58 Julius talks about his PBS episodes, a series of local shows that caused one local celebrity to call him the “Hip Hop Fred Rogers.” A link to these shows is provided below.

10.06 Julius talks about his literacy efforts in the St. Louis Region and his work to facilitate cooperation and support among the many groups in St. Louis trying to improve literacy within the regions. Included is a brief mention of his newest partnership with the St. Louis City Public Schools.

15.40  Conclusion. Julius wraps things up and summarizes his views about his literacy work and why he does what he does.

Here is a link to the interview:

Here are links to some sites mention in the interview:

St. Louis Black Authors Webpage:

www.stlblackauthors.com

Julius’ local PBS Children’s Show:

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/show/st-louis-on-the-air/2020-07-25/believe-project-literary-show-highlights-black-authors-childrens-books-in-st-louis

In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing other literacy leaders, including folks from   St. Louis Turn The Page and two educators from Australia who will be talking about what literacy instruction looks like down under. Until next week- Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka a believer in Julius’ project

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

The Believe project and its works are copyrighted by Julius Anthony

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Teachers and Educators, Well Done in 2020: You are Superheroes! By Dr. Sam Bommarto

Once again- Happy New Year! We’re getting off to a good start this year. The newest issue of The Missouri Reader is out and it is dedicated to teachers and educators. It includes a special section on teaching literacy virtually. There are a lot of nuts-and-bolts tips on how to implement an on-line literacy program.  As some of you may already know, I am the Co-Editor of this journal along with Glenda Nugent. The Missouri Reader has been around for almost 50 years. It started out as a “paper journal”.  Now we publish digitally. We have two to three issues each year. We are peer-reviewed, and our editorial board has many highly qualified people (see the sidebar on the Table of Contents). We publish many articles by well-known experts in the reading field. However, we also encourage teachers to publish, especially action research, book reviews, and app reviews. The last page of each issue explains how to submit an article for review. We are an official publication of the Missouri Literacy Association. Missouri Literacy Association is an ILA affiliate. Anyone with the following link can read the current issue for free:

https://joom.ag/0oVC

I want to share with you my Chairman’s message, which can also be found in the current journal.

To Teachers and Educators

Well Done in 2020: You are Superheroes!

I found this posting on Twitter in December:

Notice that this tweet got over 65 thousand likes and over 10 thousand shares. People know what teachers like you are doing. In spite of what some nay-sayers have said, people know that what you are doing is helping a lot of kids.  As Diane Ravitch’s blog just reminded us, we are working through a pandemic. We are helping kids. We continue to do what it takes to scaffold the kids into becoming lifetime readers and writers. We continue to understand just how important that goal is.

The Missouri Literacy Association (MLA) is doing its best to support you as a teacher. We have a Facebook page where you can find daily information and inspiration. The Missouri Reader, which has been published by MLA for almost 50 years, provides you with informative articles. Some of them come from well-known folks in the literacy field, but many of them come from practicing teachers like yourselves. They are not well known (yet), but they are exactly the kind of superheroes Dan Rather was talking about. 

MLA has been growing this year. We already have several hundred new members. We now have three active regional councils in three locations:  St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City. Joining MLA automatically makes you a member of the council of your choice at no extra cost, or you can choose an “at large” membership if you wish.  We’re offering book clubs, webinars and are a part of many wonderful literacy projects in our state, such as the Believe project of the St. Louis Black Authors. We have a webinar series by Tim Rasinski that is free to all. Tim’s next webinar is on Jan. 26th, 2021. Do have a look at our webpage- we’d love for you to become the newest member of MLA and to join in the many activities currently going on in our state.

In closing I want to wish all of you the best in the New Year. Like all of you I’m glad to put 2020 behind us and I am hopeful for what the new year will bring. We did make it through 2020. Actually, we did more than that. We got through 2020 in a way that has folks like Dan Rather saying we are “superhero’s who have even another year of awesomeness”. Well Done Indeed- Teachers and Educators. All the best in the coming New Year.

Dr. Sam Bommarito

Chairman of Missouri Literacy Association

Co-Editor of The Missouri Reader

Part of our way of distributing The Missouri Reader is the use of what we call “word of cyberspace.” We ask our readers to share the link to the magazine with other readers. As a result, we are now read all around the world. So, if you like what you see please share the link. It’s free. THANKS!

You can help to support The Missouri Reader by joining the Missouri Literacy Association- membership is open to all. Here is a link where you can join:

https://mla31.wildapricot.org/

Here is a screen capture of the front cover of the journal:

Until next week-

Happy Reading and Writing

Dr. Sam Bommarito (Co-Editor of an authentic teacher’s journal)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Happy Holidays- a holiday message & a link to my most read blog post of the year by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Taking a break this week to share the holidays with my family. This year that included getting together with the whole family at once. Of course, it was on Zoom.  But just as in the famous Dr. Seuss story- Christmas came just the same.    

I’m sharing one link.  I thought you might find this link interesting. It is to my most read post this year. The post had over 1,600 views. It summarizes my centrist views about the reading wars.

Next week I will share the latest issue of the Missouri Reader (I am the co-editor). It will include a special section about using Distance Learning in literacy. After the new year begins I will be resuming my interviews of literacy leaders including two teachers from Australia.

In the meantime, I want to wish all my readers the best over this holiday season. Stay safe and be well!  

Copyright 2020 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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