One of the things I have worked to develop is a mindset that does not say either/or. I have found very few things in my life that are clearly one way or the other. I’m more and more comfortable with ambiguity as I get older. It seems okay to see multiple perspectives.

Recently, I have heard and read Twitter threads that seem to set up an either/or that made me uncomfortable. They seemed to say: Either we’re all in on reading workshop, classroom libraries, and independent reading; OR, we pay the price for having less than that with too many students needing intervention.

I am comfortable with both workshop and intervention. Reading workshops with lovely classroom libraries and lots of independent reading time do sound ideal. Most students will thrive and flourish as readers with such opportunities. But I also know there are students who fake read because they are afraid to let on that they need help.I think we need to think about making it okay to be a kid who learns to read differently. Whether that happens in the workshop or outside the workshop shouldn’t be the issue. As a wise leader once said to me, “Intervention is not a place.” The important thing is that children are met where they are and given what they need.

Some may question why I spend so much of my time at school providing intervention, teaching students to decode text. The short answer is there is a need, and I’ve studied a lot about explicit, direct teaching for students who read differently. I enjoy it and love to see the incremental progress that happens as children start to figure out the code. It means that I often miss the fun of book clubs, discussions, and writing workshop, but if I can provide a bridge or stepping stone for a child to be able to join in one day, I’m happy.

4 thoughts on “Either Or

  1. This is really quite a wonderful, succinct statement of dedication to your work! I love your opening about not buying into an ‘either/or’ dichotomy. Then you explain. Then you show where your work fits in.

  2. It is such a balancing act as cliche as that sounds. I just love those wise words you shared, “Intervention is not a place.” There can be a lot of joy in the learning of decoding text when surrounded by supportive books too. It sounds like you strive to support in the best ways.

  3. Stay happy! So glad you “can provide a bridge or stepping stone for a child to be able to join in one day”. Your students are SO lucky!! And I needed to be reminded that it isn’t either/or. Thanks for the “balance” wisdom!

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