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Hall: I feel guilty for pushing my students to read

February 6, 2015
OutcomesQuality and CurriculumWorkforce
Launa Hall
The Denver Post Editorials

At the same time, I am deeply troubled about the way I pushed Josue and many other children. Early-childhood education studies suggest that hurrying kids to read doesn’t really help them. As Defending the Early Years and the Alliance for Childhood put it in an elegantly simple report this month: “No research documents long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten.” And all the time spent discreetly drilling literacy skills to meet standards imposes a huge opportunity cost. It crowds out the one element in early-childhood classrooms proven to bolster learning outcomes over time: play. . . 

In a Preschool Policy Brief, the National Institute for Early Education Research expressed concerns about trends in early literacy assessment, including “the use of assessments that focus on a limited range of skills and the nature of the assessments in use. Both factors may cause teachers to narrow their curriculum and teaching practices, especially when the stakes are high.”