Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mom, or "Home Reading Coach"?

More deathless prose from the Upper Tax Bracket School District, found in Younger Daughter's backpack:

Dear Parents, 

We are ready to start our reading bag program at 2D! ...

Once your child has completed their 15 minutes of reading, they will write down the books they have read in their reading record book.  You will sign the log sheet to show the reading has been completed.  Use this time to sit with your child as the home reading coach.  The reading should be easy and fun for your child.  It should not be a struggle. 

Please be sure to practice the skill card with your child as part of their 10 - 15 minutes EVERY night as well.  There is a white card for decoding strategies and comprehension strategies.  There is a colored card that is for the next attainable level.  These strategies will not only help your child be a better reader, they will help your child advance to the next reading level.

... Thank you,

[no signature]

P.S.  Have Fun Reading!  

Next up, the comprehension and decoding strategies!


  1. "You will sign the log in sheet to show the reading has been completed." Unbelievable. That one line embodies so much of what is wrong with schools' attitudes toward the people they serve. Why does a teacher or administrator think it's okay to give orders to a parent? In any other context, wouldn't someone -- especially a public employee -- at least ask nicely?

    When school people talk about "parent involvement," I'm afraid that's exactly what they mean: follow our orders and don't expect to have any say in anything.

    You better watch out -- if you don't sign the log, you might get held in from recess.

  2. Chris, you're singing my song.

    In this case, what really knocks me out is the complexity of what we've been asked to do. At this point, we've already received 2 reading logs: one, some kind of deal that might (or might not!) result in YD's classroom being visited by the mascot of our local baseball team, and the other, the standard reading log, which Sainted Husband has been filling out. How do the 2 logs relate to each other? Are we supposed to double-report each reading event in both logs? I have no idea.

    Then there's the decoding and comprehension strategies -- that'll be my next post.

    That's on top of the nightly spelling homework (which we ignore) and occasional math homework.


  3. PsychMom says OMG

    That's just like the note that came home that you posted on StopHomework 3 years ago...

    On her way to bed last night, daughter passes by her bookbag and says, "Oh, I have French homework"....she pulls it out and starts whining that she has to do it but she doesn't know what to do. I won't tell you what time it was because it was embarrassingly late, but suffice it to say, there was no way I was going to allow her to sit at the kitchen table and start working on this stuff. Grumbling ensued.

    But I blame the teacher for creating this scenario.
    A) She's 10 and she and her classmates are too young to organize their time.
    B) If it's a task meant to be done at home, then parents must be informed of what the task is. We were not.
    and C)The school does have the right to cause this hassle between my daughter and me.

    The school would probably say that if I just was a good parent and reminded her about homework and made it a priority in my home then there would be no discord.

    Just be reasonable...see it our way.

  4. Ooops...C) was supposed to say the school doesn't have the right...

  5. I just got the "reading log" home in my 4th graders folder yesterday. I have watched her go from a kid that would devour books to one who now says, "reading is school work". I spent the day yesterday reading and reading about reading and motivation. Can I say I want the Book Whisperer lady for my childs teacher every year. Anyways, I am setting up an appointment to go in and talk to the teacher. I want to ever so nicely tell her why we won't be doing the reading log but also present an alternative that I hope she will accept. Ugh! Why does it irritate me that within 5 minutes of research I found tons of evidence to say the reading logs do not in fact motivate kids to read. Why doesn't a reading teacher know this???? I think it's just laziness on the teachers part. I really want you to read, but the only thing I'm going to do to motivate you to read is photocopy this form for you. Did I say Ugh??

  6. FedUpMom, I am boiling mad about that foolishness sent home by your daughter's school! It's like you and the others have said. It's the tone they take with us. It's demeaning. They forget that they work for us, not the other way around. I'm so sad about my own daughter's school that I'm considering sending in a letter of resignation from the partnership. Seriously.

  7. Anonymous, I hope you've seen my master list of anti-reading-log material:

    Join the Chorus Against Reading Logs

    Yes, it's laziness, and it's also a lack of feedback. Nobody asks the parents (or the kids!) -- "Was the reading log helpful?"

  8. Kim, if you resign from the partnership, could you send me the letter? I'd love to see it! What a fabulous idea.

  9. If I do resign, I will send you the letter. the "problem" in our house is that my husband is even more p.o.'d about this stuff than I am so I don't have anyone talking me down! Usually I write something, then take out all the humorous and incendiary stuff before I send it. Thank you for the master list. You're right, no one cares about the parents' feedback. They don't want feedback. And they are lazy- they just want to be able to point to a list of stuff we're supposed to do and say "Look how rigorous we are. Look at how we partner with the parents!"

  10. Could I see your letter *before* you take out the humorous and incendiary stuff? Sounds like great blogging material!

  11. FedUpMom: Yes, in the future, I'll send you copies of my "before" letters. I do have a ball writing them. I just sent a letter discussing my daughter's "lack of focus" in class. My daughter attends an open-plan school where the staff insists that the buzz of many classes taking place in one room at the same time is not a problem for anyone, so among the parts I deleted were a "mini-treatise of walls" that, I suggested to the teacher, we could call "Got Walls?", "Walls, I hardly knew ya," or "Where Have All the Walls Gone?"

    Then there was the part where I suggested that maybe my daughter suffers from nothing more than being a seven year old. The cure for being seven? Turning eight. I didn't think the teacher would like that either so I deleted it.

    I was basically left with "my daughter has excellent focus and a good attention span at home." The unspoken (and unwritten) corollary was "Since she's fine at home, the problem is the school." No fun at all and I'm sure I still antagonized the teacher.

    I was just sitting in my living room thinking I've got to detach from this school drama for a while. That will only last until the backpack comes home with the School Department's latest salvo. Sounds familiar, huh?

    Does anyone write songs? We could all collaborate on "American Schools: The Musical"

  12. You might love the book "The Book Whisperer", written by a school teacher in Texas. The way she describes her classroom makes my heart sing. Her students read 40 books a year- oh, but they're all free choice, AND they do the reading in class, oh, AND there are no reading logs. To read her descriptions of an English class where a true love of reading is being fostered- kids flopped on the floor reading together, others curled up on bean bags, etc- is wonderful. Not to mention that this is just a normal ol' public school in Texas, not some progressive private Waldorfian dream.