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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Echoes of Saul Alinsky and the Problems Facing America

TO: The Folks on the Block
FROM: Saul Alinsky
SUBJECT: Freedom
CC: Corporate America, Current and Future Administrations in Washington.

"People cannot be free unless they are willing to sacrifice some of their interests to guarantee the freedom of others. The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people."

Worst Practices: Round Robin Reading

Based on my observation, Round Robin Reading (RRR) is a dominant reading strategy across high school. In RRR students are encouraged to “follow along” while one student reads aloud. In practice students either read ahead or tune out.

Is RRR effective?

A review of literature indicates that RRR is detrimental to academic achievement:

1) Wastes Time—amount of reading is insignificant.

2) Inefficient—only one reader at a time.

3) Slow and meaningless reading.

4) Promotes bad reading habits, e.g., sub-vocalization, single word focus.

5) Causes behavioral problems.

6) Increases time off task.

Why does it persist?

1) Teachers tend to teach the way they were taught, rather than the way they were taught to teach.

2) Teachers don’t realize the alternatives or are unwilling to try them.

What to do?

Ban round robin reading. Provide professional development to promote high impact reading practices that align with district initiatives. Enforce through direct observation.