Revisiting: Aliterate Teachers

Here’s a post from my Classroom 2.0 Blog from 2008. It caused a lot of comments. Would love to hear your thoughts on either side of the aisle.

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MTG reading2Okay. So I’m sitting at a “Literacy Institute” and I’m surprised by a comment from a teacher who says she doesn’t like to read.

Doesn’t like to read? An elementary teacher, in charge of teaching kids to READ, doesn’t like to READ herself? What’s up with THAT? That’s like a boat salesman who doesn’t like water! Or a astronaut who doesn’t like space travel, or a doctor who doesn’t like patients,¬†or a baker who doesn’t like bread… (Feel free to add your own analogy in the comment box!)

How can you teach kids how to read if you don’t like to read yourself? Sadly, this is NOT the first time I’ve heard something like this. (Thankfully, the work of Karen Kingsbury has been nothing short of life-changing to many of my former non-reading colleagues and friends. I even had one teacher somewhat upset with me because she had such a hard time putting those books down after being introduced to them that she was losing sleep!)

So, here’s my plea to school administrators around the world: Please ask EVERY interviewee if she considers herself to be a reader and what books she’s read lately. Then ask her if she considers herself to be a writer and what types of things she’s written lately. Seriously, ASK!

What do you think? Can someone whose main job is to teach literacy do so without being actively literate themselves? Can someone whose main job is to teach mathematics (or any other given subject/content area) do so without being actively literate?