By Jamie Downey. K-5 Literacy Director, Savvas Learning Company
A couple of months ago, I spoke with Dr. Frank Serafini about providing professional development for literacy educators. During the course of our conversation, I shared an idea for a series of podcasts about “Learning to Read: What Really Matters”- where we would focus on issues that truly matter in education- such as the science of reading, culturally relevant instruction, student engagement, distance learning, ensuring students have access to high-quality texts, and more.
During the course of our conversation, Dr. Serafini mentioned the deeply held beliefs that educators have about learning- specifically literacy learning. These “hills we are willing to die on” are the non-negotiables that we believe are absolutely critical to literacy success for students.
I asked Dr. Serafini to share his “hills” and his response was as follows:
“It is important to recognize that of course we want quality education for ALL students but I think we should take this as a given. How do we educate ALL children and support ALL teachers is really what we need to get at.
To that end, here are a few of my “hills”:
Students need access to high-quality texts – diversity of perspective, culture, genre and formats – well written and illustrated, accurate … in paper and digital forms
Students need to be immersed in the sounds of language – oral and written – through read-alouds, talk, literary discussions, book clubs etc.
Students need teachers that are familiar with how to facilitate 1 & 2.
Students need spaces and communities that support reading, writing, drawing, creativity, inquiry, etc., without fear of reprisal or humiliation
That is how I answer the first question…for ALL children.”
– Frank Serafini
I was so moved by Dr. Serafini’s response that I asked him to allow me to interview him for a podcast. During the talk, we covered many topics, including multimodal literacy, teacher growth/appreciation, and the future of teaching. I found the conversation refreshing and motivating– and I hope you do, too.
LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE.
I polled the entire myView Literacy authorship team on their deeply held beliefs about literacy as part of our “Learning to Read: What Really Matters” series. Stay tuned for future installments from Dr. David Pearson, Dr. Judy Wallis, Dr. Sharon Vaughn, Dr. María Arreguín-Anderson, and more.
Jamie Downey K-5 Literacy Director, Savvas Learning Company, Paramus, NJ USA
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