Literacy to be core of state teaching
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Friday, November 16, 2012
11/16/12 at 4:48 AM
OWASSO - The new Common Core curriculum that is on its way to Oklahoma public schools is all about literacy, a national consultant told a small group of parents Thursday night.
Ken Stamatis, a literacy expert and Common Core curriculum trainer and professor at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., spoke at Barnes Elementary School to give parents from across the Owasso district more information about what will be expected of students and teachers when the curriculum fully takes effect in 2014-15.
Reading and writing are the underpinnings of the Common Core curriculum and are intertwined throughout other disciplines, such as math, science and social studies. It's about comprehension and analysis - learning to think rather than just spitting out facts learned by rote, he said.
One way the curriculum differs from what most adults experienced in school is its emphasis on relevance in the real world, Stamatis said.
Rather than telling students they need to know eighth-grade material to get to the ninth grade, the focus is on making sure students become college- and career-ready at an earlier age, he said.
"There is no longer a checklist of teaching standards," he told parents.
It's not about teaching the material but about whether the students learned from what the teacher taught.
Another difference is that educators aren't just growing historians and physicists and geologists, Stamatis said.
"It's about growing geographers who read and write like geographers," he said.
In his training with teachers, he tells them that if their concept of their job is just to give out facts, they'd better change their concept.
"What Common Core pushes us to do is to teach what to do with the information. How do we use the information?" Stamatis said. "Teachers will be teaching students how to read and write in the discipline that they teach."
Forty-eight of 50 states, including Oklahoma, have signed on to the voluntary national standards with the goal of preparing American students for global citizenship.
Stamatis has worked with hundreds of districts and thousands of teachers, including in Owasso, Bixby, Glenpool, Jenks and Sapulpa, to get them ready.
"To be successful with the Common Core, we're going to have to do our best at creating literate children. Literate children are created, not born," he said.
The maxim among most reading teachers and literacy experts is that children read to learn, so it is the fundamental skill needed to get a strong education and to become lifelong learners.
"Maryanne Wolf (a literacy expert) said: 'People who don't read lead one life. People who read lead a million lives,' " Stamatis said.
Three ways to prepare for Common Core
1: Read aloud to your child. It is the single-most important thing a parent can do to promote the future success of a child.
2: Read with your child. It not only helps with reading but also provides a bonding opportunity.
3: Read by your child. Modeling is one of the most powerful tools to turn your child into a lifelong reader.
Source: Ken Stamatis
Original Print Headline: Literacy to be core of state teaching
Kim Archer 918-581-8315