a more in depth review...

Nancie Atwell's newest book is a(n) (admitted) manifesto on reading. In it, Atwell does not so much cover new ground as respond to the educational reactions to the ideas she put forth in In the Middle. She also touches on teachers' reactions to the sneaking suspicion that it's somehow not "enough" to get kids to read--we have to be "doing" something in order to be doing our job.

That particular thread really touched a nerve with me, as I had spent significant amounts of time during the school year trying to convince my principal, other teachers, and even a few parents that READING was the point of the class--not some sort of mystical demonstration of "rigor". I had a particularly tough week when I was being told that I should model my classroom after another teacher who is termed the "worksheet queen". This, in my department, is a term of endearment. The woman has a worksheet for everything, and her students get very, very good at filling them out. I find it really difficult to work that way, and I have a hard time convincing myself that time spent working on worksheets is better than time spent reading or talking about books.

Luckily, I have a few teacher-friends and now Nancie Atwell saying that reading is rigorous and it's the most important skill I can pass along.

Sometimes it's hard to be a voice in the wild--it helps to feel as if there are allies out there.