Sunday, January 21, 2024

Do teachers know how to teach kids to read.


Here are tweets by The Madwoman in the Classroom @heymrsbond and a few of the replies.

Mrs. Bond’s Twitter profile says that she is a Literacy educator • teacher-scholar • mom.

Here are her tweets, some replies, and my comments.

As usual, I made some comments which I don’t expect anyone to reply to. I am posting this for future reference when I write my next book.

The important thing is the number of teachers here saying they don’t know anything about teaching kids to read and yet will not take the trouble to learn from what I have to say.


The Madwoman in the Classroom @heymrsbond

Secondary English teachers don’t teach students how to read. We aren’t taught how to teach students how to read.

Altaira Morbius @Altair4_2381

This is particularly troublesome when you realize that the majority of middle school teachers were secondary trained. Kids in 6-8 still need basic reading and writing instruction!

My comment now:

If kids in grades 6 – 8 need basic reading instruction, it should have started in kindergarten or grade 1. The question to ask is how come there are kids in grade 2 who can’t decode.


Brent Gilson @mrbgilson

I agree there are still lots of kids who are not proficient however almost every bit of research I have seen, even from folks I loathe is that those foundational skills need to be attained by the end of the third or it becomes an intervention issue and different conversation to me.

My comment now:

This is one of the problems with the Westerners. Do we need research to state such an obvious thing? Reading at grade level should be attained by the end of grade 1. If I can get it done with so-called dyslexic kids, I don’t see why trained teachers are unable to do it.

Heather L @HeatherL114

A problem here is that all of the resources are going into K-2 and so if they don’t have it by the 3rd there are very few resources to get them the extra support they need…


Dr. Heidi Beverine-Curry @drheidibc

Most elementary teachers weren’t taught how to teach students to read, either. It’s a problem.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

It is not a problem if you use all the tools available for kids to learn to read.


My comment now:

It appears that Heidi Beverine-Curry has an ego problem to ask me for all the tools I use to teach my students to read.

She has not read my book Shut Down Kids. If she had read my book she would understand why kids shut down/ disengage from learning to read.

PB-n-J @AZEducator

Secondary science teachers aren’t taught how to teach reading, writing or math, but…

My comment now:

Of course, we don’t expect secondary school teachers to teach kids to learn to read. But if they are going to be active in such a thread as this they should at least ask the relevant question and read what informed ‘teachers’ have to say.

Kim Lah @lah_klah

I disagree. Students should have proficient literacy before starting high school. If they don’t, that’s a trend in elementary school education that needs to be addressed.

My comment now:

Isn’t this a truism? But how do elementary school educators expect to address this if they are not even willing to discuss this matter openly? Isn’t it better to open their mouths and be considered stupid for a moment rather than stay stupid for the rest of their lives?


Jen Moreau @JenMoreau85

This is the conversation we need to have, especially in districts where kids come to HS grade levels behind. I'm a HS AP who will always argue that most HS English teachers do not know HOW to teach reading. Teaching HOW to read is not what HS curriculums ask teachers to do.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

True! Start getting kindergarten teachers to teach correctly. By the end of grade 1, all kids should be able to read at grade level.

My comment now:

Is there anyone in this thread who wants to discuss this openly?


Great3rdGrade @Great3rdGrade

I am an elementary teacher and they didn’t teach me how to teach kids to read either.


Susan ᴼᵀ⁷ @AGUST_D_Chicago

Kids should know how to read by third grade. That’s when we start heavy on comprehension. Unfortunately, it’s not the case these days.


Great3rdGrade @Great3rdGrade

I’m learning, and doing better every year. and every survey from the college I attended I make sure to tell them they should teach teachers how to teach reading.

All I learned was creative book reports and projects and how to identify a student who couldn’t read, nothing about how to help the student.     

Greentravelgal @travelgalgreen

I wasn’t taught it in my elementary Ed degree either.


Rob / Rab Hillhouse  @Robaceratops

100% correct.  So let's say the ELA teacher goes to the building ELD specialist for help with teaching students to read.  Turns out they most likely won't know either.

Luqman Michel

I recommend you try me.


Dr. Yvette @doc_yvette

The funny thing is neither are we as special educators. We can provide interventions, but that is after the fact. Schools need more reading specialists. That would lower some of the special education referrals.

Luqman Michel

We don't need reading specialists if we teach children correctly. Ask yourself why after a short period of intervention many kids who could not read can read at grade level and maintained at grade level. Ask me any questions you may have and I will reply.


Geri Kipp  @GeriKipp

If primary teachers were properly trained, all you should need is an understanding of how the brain learns to read (95-97% of the time). That you are here is a failure of K-5 pre-service training and instruction. Period. Students should be ready for what you have to offer.




Exactly. And yet NO one wants to fully fund with time. Effort. Research and resources …NO one collectively cares as much about K-2 as 3-5. And yet we wonder why less than 40% of our 8th graders aren’t proficient readers. K-2 teachers are gems and we are ignored every year.

Luqman Michel

I know why they are not proficient at reading but who cares to discuss this with me?

Read a discussion I had on Twitter with an accomplished teacher.

Ask yourself why her son was keen on learning to read after 2 lessons from my book.

Ask why they can decode in Malay and Hanyu Pinyin but not in English and you may understand the problem.

Miss Casteen, NBCT, Med @misscasteen

I teach high school social studies. I had kids who read at a K level in 9th grade, and it seemed like there was no one in my building (including me) who knew what to do with that. I knew I wasn't meeting their needs, but I didn't (and don't) know how.


Luqman Michel

It is very difficult at the 9th-grade level. So, start at the kindergarten level and get kids to read by the end of grade 1.

Want to discuss this?

Do you think kindergarten and grades 1 & 2 teachers are taught how to teach kids to read?


Britney Montague @BritneyEsther11

I teach high school English intervention and part of my Master’s thesis research was about this fact and how we can help layer in explicit strategy instruction. My MA cohort were all elementary teachers and I learned a lot from them. (MA in Reading and Language Arts).

Luqman Michel

Could you please let us know the main strategy, or lead us to some papers you may have written somewhere?

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