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The Day Reading Died

This past week marked a sad day for this teacher.  A day I have fought against with every ounce I have in me.  A day I saw coming a long way off, but I fiercely fought anyway.  This day finally came. The day I told my daughter to give up. That’s right.  I told her to just stop. It was pointless. It was absurd.  And it was causing more harm than good.

My sweet little girl came into the room with tear filled eyes.  She could hardly speak, but through her heartbreak she was able to communicate with me what was wrong.  Her best wasn’t good enough.

You see, in today’s school there is a demon called testing.  This fabulous program predicts benchmarks, goals and achievements for students.  One particular test “holds all the marbles”.    My baby was so upset that she didn’t grow 50 points on a scaled score (that is teacher talk for how much she is to improve). She only scored 35 points and she is going to be punished.  Punished for getting better?  Punished for being above grade level and meeting every national criteria. Punished because her best was not good enough. Growth was not enough growth.

Think about it for a second. What would Weight Watchers be like if you were scolded for only losing 1 pound instead of 10?  Beatings for everyone?  Public humiliation?  Announcements that you didn’t meet the 60 pound goal–you only lost 58.  Such a tragedy!

Wake UP America! What are we doing to our kids?  Why are we so focused on killing reading?  Or at the very least killing the love of it?

Good readers, read.  Good test takers … get candy. Kids who continually find themselves not good enough–quit trying.   Let’s face it–in 10 years which would I rather have?  You got that right!  A person who fell in love with reading for the simple sake of bringing the mind to the text.

Dear sweet daughter,

You are more than a benchmark, you are more than a predetermined list of books you are required to read (even if you hate them).  You are a beautiful mind who is growing stronger each day.  You are a great lover of the word.

You are a great reader.  I don’t care about scores, I care about you.

Read whatever you want, as long as you want,



How do you feel about the state of education in America? How would you improve things? What do you do to encourage your child to learn?

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