Monday, August 6, 2007

Smart Answers to tough Questions by Elaine Garan

Wow! Elaine Garan for President! Okay, maybe Secretary of Education or something. And I am not the only one who feels this way. Click here for an article from the Fresno State News dot com.
When I saw this post by Franki on A Year of Reading, I purchased the book right away. It sounded like something right up my alley. I was not mistaken. It is the single most important professional book I have read in quite awhile.
The book is titled Smart Answers to Tough Questions by Elaine Garan. The book contains smart, researched, complex, complete, and often hard-to-swallow answers to the questions most asked about the way we teach Literacy. The book is divided into questions about Reading, Phonics and Phonemic Awareness, Eye-Movement Research and Decodable Text, Fluency, Writing, English Language Learners, and Standards, Accountability, and High-Stakes Testing. Within the sections the format is as follows: "The Tough Question," "Your Bottom-Line Answer," "Something for You to Think and Talk About," and "The Proof."
If you have ever had any questions about if what you are doing is the right thing... Just open this book and dig in! There are some issues in this book that are hard to swallow, and you may be taking part in activities which are not going to further your student's abilities in Literacy, but probably deep inside you always questioned it. This book can help you sort through those questions. I was particularly interested in Garan's information on Accelerated Reading and Dibels, both which my school participates in and I have always questioned.
The only thing that disappointed me slightly is the fact that the cover shows what looks like tabs for the section, but are really just a cover picture. There are no tabs in the book.
I want to pass this book along to you and hope that you do the same; pass it along to someone you think would appreciate it as well.


Anonymous said...

What did the author say about AR and Dibels?

Megan Germano said...

I have no idea who left this anonymous comment, and that kind of bugs me, but I will answer here anyway. Basically if you want a good answer, read the book. But the author says about AR- "There is no scientific, much less federally approved, research to support the use of the Accelerated Reader program (AR)." (p.60)
About Dibels- "Research proves that fluency should not be separated from comprehension.
In fact, research proves that too much training in fluency can actually interfere with comprehension." (p.102)
There are really long answers to both of these questions, these are just a quick quote from each topic. -- Read the BOOK!