ERIC Number: EJ1093907
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Alvermann & Jackson: Response to "Beyond the Common Core: Examining 20 Years of Literacy Priorities and Their Impact on Struggling Readers"
Alvermann, Donna E.; Jackson, Glen
Literacy Research and Instruction, v55 n2 p107-110 2016
When the editors of "Literacy Research and Instruction" invited Donna Alvermann and Glenn Jackson to respond to "Beyond the Common Core: Examining 20 Years of Literacy Priorities and Their Impact on Struggling Readers," they both instantly recognized the strengths and limitations in their collaboration. In the strengths corner, they bring different perspectives and experiences to bear on the article coauthored by Jack Cassidy, Evan Ortlieb, and Stephanie Grote-Garcia (2016). For example, Donna Alvermann, a teacher educator and researcher, has been involved in the annual "What's Hot, What's Not" survey. Her insider status, however, is not shared by Glenn Jackson, a first-year doctoral student who currently holds the position of instructional coach in a neighboring county's school system. The authors believe these differences to be an asset because they feel their separate filters may help to expose unexamined biases or at the very least offset each other's views due to their varying responsibilities as literacy educators. The primary limitation they perceive is having less than ample space in which to provide sufficient evidence that struggling readers and literacy coaching are in no danger of disappearing from the "What's Hot, What's Not" list. For the purposes of this response, they filter Cassidy et al.'s survey results through recent professional and local policy-related shifts that indicate a continued focus on these distinct but related topics. Here, based on recently breaking news, the authors build a case for a resurgence of interest in struggling readers. Jackson, a full-time instructional coach and part time doctoral student applauds this development. He sees the recent creation of coaching positions at middle and high schools in his district as a sign that administrators are recommiting themselves to ongoing professional development within their schools for the purpose of improving instruction for struggling readers. Since struggling readers are often struggling writers, Jackson's school has emphasized the importance of writing instruction to help students generate and clarify understandings about cross-curricular texts. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and corresponding standardized assessments have significantly impacted teaching and learning across the nation. The "Georgia Milestones Assessment", implemented in 2015, has substantially raised the bar for what are considered proficient reading and writing skills. The authors agree that since students, teachers, and schools are all evaluated using test scores, one major priority will remain on the hot list: closing achievement gaps by helping all students, particularly struggling readers, demonstrate growth in reading comprehension on an annual basis. Renewed emphasis on advanced reading and writing skills necessitates professional learning opportunities in these areas, and coaches can help meet this need. Jackson closes the article by saying that he agrees with the majority of experts surveyed that literacy coaches "should" remain a hot topic in literacy education.
Descriptors: Reader Response, Literacy, Reading Difficulties, Achievement Gap, Relevance (Education), At Risk Students, Coaching (Performance), Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Needs, Educational Practices, Educational Opportunities, Common Core State Standards
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A