I don’t need to tell you that it is a challenge to match a child with a book they will love on their reading “level”. I don’t need to tell you about the numerous conversations that I’ve had with adult caregivers reassuring them that their child can check out books above or below their reading “level”. Or that they can check out graphic novels or comic books or magazines and still get practice with reading. This practice is frustrating for librarian, child, and caregiver.
On the recommendation of an educator, my team recently listened to the Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong podcast by APM Reports. I was shocked to learn that the reading programs that have been just a nuisance to me, are actually harming children.
Essentially, a 60-year-old unscientific theory on how children learn to read has been turned into a multi-million dollar industry and it is not helping kids learn to read.
Though we are not responsible for teaching reading, as youth services professionals we can better serve our customers by understanding more about how children are being taught to read in our school districts and we can be advocates for evidence-based reading instruction.