Learning How Kids Learn to Read

I’ll be reblogging some older posts from Schools & Ecosystems here that really make more sense as anchors for this blog. This is the one that will center much of what Literacy and Language Blog will be all about!

Schools & Ecosystems

You might assume I know something about teaching kids to read. I studied English at UCLA and obtained my master’s in education at The City College of NY. I taught special education grades 5-8 for 7 years, and I’ve supported schools and teachers throughout the Bronx with K-8 ELA instruction over the past 3 years.

Yet you’d be wrong. I’ve come to realize I know next to nothing.

In case you haven’t been aware, there’s been a firestorm of educators on platforms like Twitter gaining newfound awareness of the science of reading, with an urgent bellows inflamed by the ace reporting of Emily Hanford. For a great background on this movement, with links, refer to this post by Karen Vaites. And make sure you check out Hanford’s most recent podcast (as of today!!! It’s amazing!) outlining how current classroom practice is misaligned to research.

Impelled by this burgeoning…

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Welcome to the Language and Literacy Blog

Welcome to my new blog.

My name is Mark, and I serve NYC schools.

I’ve been blogging for some time over on Schools & Ecosystems, but my main focus these days is on language and literacy, rather than on the physical and social-ecological environments of schools. Plus, my writing has just totally petered out, so I felt the need for a renewed focus.

A short while ago, I discovered a whole world of research and knowledge on reading that kind of blew my mind. I knew there was stuff I didn’t know about early reading instruction, but it turned out that all those things I didn’t know about early reading instruction also meant that I didn’t know a whole lot of other things about upper grade literacy instruction, either. And boy, I sure wish I knew these things when I was in a self-contained classroom when I first began teaching.

Turns out, there’s a whole lot of other teachers and administrators who don’t know this stuff either.

So I’ve been since working to rectify my lack of knowledge, while also working to communicate and share that knowledge to the field.

My hope is that this blog will help me better ruminate on and communicate the things I’m learning as I dig deeper into the research and practices that support academic language and literacy development. My specific focus is on emerging multilingual and bilingual children, in addition to children with dialects that are too often looked down upon, as well as on children who have learning disabilities. My firm belief is that if we can improve instruction for these children, we will improve instruction for all children.

I would be honored if you join me here on this quest to learn more about literacy and language.