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For millions of years--okay, several thousand--children were taught to read with nursery rhymes, cute little stories, Jack and the Beanstalk, and every other kind of sweet temptation you can dream up for young minds. You give them literary candy. You give them verbal toys. You pull them into the whole notion of reading, of liking books.
So right from the start I thought David Coleman was way off base. He wants children to read difficult stuff. He wants them to wallow in difficult stuff. He wants them to struggle. Bah humbug.
Possibly, by the time they get to high school, after they have become good readers, you can give them increasingly difficult stuff. That's the process. But David Coleman and some of these Common Core extremists argue that you should start early, hit them over the head with some repair manuals, some tax regulations, some environmental manuals. I have always hated to read such stuff, and I'm a literary guy. Imagine you've got your elementary school kids, who can hardly read at all, and you've got middle school kids who are still semi-literate, and you want to make them read a passage that is difficult for adults?? I say we need the guys with the big butterfly nets.
Anyway, this article makes a strong case against Close Reading:
Is Close Reading a complete fraud???
I want to add my big thought for 2015. Four words: the fix is in. Everywhere I look, everything I read, convinces me that the Education Establishment and people like David Coleman are leaving nothing to chance. In computers, they call this concept redundancy. So you don't teach a kid to read with phonics. So you make them spend hours trying to read something that nobody in his right mind would read by choice. So you make the boys read books intended for girls so they won't enjoy them. So you tell the local media: never explain reading, in that way, parents have no chance of helping their kids. And so on. Illiteracy is a done deal.