lois lowry Posts

What is wrong with ReaDing in School -Franklin Academy

November 12….

My son was reading a book “The Giver” which to my knowledge he utilized for both the Intensive Reading and On-Grade Reading classes during this year. He also watched the movie to help him visualize and see the difference/connection the book and the movie had; a different perspective between a writer and a producer. He seemed to enjoy the book even though he is not quick to pick any book up. When he was quizzed, at home, about the chapters to make sure he understood the material, he performed at 90% correct. This impressed me and showed me that something good was happening in his classroom and with this book. He had just started the book and had finished chapters 1-3 to prepare for classroom discussion and creativity sessions with other students and I am now under the impression that someone from the school has vetoed this decision and the book is no longer being discussed. This information comes from my child and further investigation on my part has confirmed it. I am to question why?

I chose Franklin Academy several years ago based upon meeting you in a tiny plaza before the school ever opened and based on the material given to me and a room full of other parents seeking a change, during a hotel meeting (Franklin provided). I know you were in attendance because we spoke. You appeared so ready and eager to open the school and looked forward to furthering the education of the children. Back then, you were the Assistant Principal, if I remember correctly and now that you run the entire show I am concerned that you might be way too busy with paperwork and meetings to pursue the passion I saw in you. The school was different and innovative and seemed interested in the learning of the students; something different than standard public school. This was the appeal for parents and there were no shortage of them eager to learn more about Franklin. Even the name was intriguing. The name alone stands for thinking outside the box, an innovator, and up for the challenge. A quote I have on my laptop is this : “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” fitting for this email I think. This quote is a Ben Franklin quote by the way. What happened to this philosophy?
At no time was I under the impression that all that mattered to Franklin Academy was testing and funding. I really hope my view is skewed and that there was miscommunication on this.

It is my belief that if you teach the children and they are (happy) learners they will automatically do better on any test you provide them and it won’t be necessary to choke them to death with memorization or test preparation.
Being the mother of two children and reading hundreds of books on the subject of learning gives me a different perspective to the average thinker. I am sadly disappointed by this decision to get rid of chapter books and to only choose short reading (mindless) works such as one-page material. I know for a fact, if I spoke with the people on your board they would all have a higher reading ability than to only read a one-page article. This is what should be the goal for the students at Franklin as well. A mortgage document and any court document is always more than one page so I guess we can’t encourage the kids here to be lawyers or judges or mortgage brokers, or much of anything because we don’t want to develop the skills necessary to do so? I find it hard to believe this change was even brought to the forefront of educated adults running the school.

Reading books requires past knowledge of what was read a day or so prior in order to build on what is currently being read. It requires recall ability and a mind that can envision what is happening (similar to watching a movie vs a cartoon). I am sure you are too young to remember (as I am too) but before television, news and stories were on radio. It helped those to see (in their minds) what was being read to them and to be creative with it. Each person who listened heard and pictured something different. Let’s take that one step further; I remember my dad telling me that when white / black people were divided there was a singer who was on the radio and when many pictured him they thought he sounded white but to their amazement, he was black. The only point I am referencing this for is to show you how the mind works and this is the way reading long stories works in the mind as well. It helps to build that creativity which seems to have been replaced with memorization. Maybe this could be the problem with children writers of today. It is essential for the minds of boy writers, in particular, to have the ability to be creative and see creativity found within the pages of books. This school was to know how to teach both the boy and the girl and this year I am seeing a much different theme being played out on campus. I implore you to reconsider this decision in light of looking back and seeing the vision that was laid out for the parents and the staff when the school opened and based upon the fact that you must care for the children to do the job you do, remember they are our future; bleak or bright?

If this email falls on deaf ears please instruct me as to whom I may contact regarding this decision to see if we can please change this back to incorporate some books into the curriculum? I usually take to Facebook and YouTube to voice my opinions on school teaching, but the last time I did this your phones blew up with parents, which administration kindly asked me to rectify, and I did.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Vicki