Real problem is how to teach reading

March 14, 1997|By Gail M. Parker

YOUR MARCH 1 editorial, "Too many special ed students," says a great deal about the plight of our schools.

Most of Baltimore's elementary teachers have been trained in only one method of teaching reading, "whole language," and the curriculum is designed around that method. Children who have a learning style not suited to the "whole language" method are destined for failure in school and often, as a result, in life.

There are many school systems throughout the United States that train regular classroom teachers in three methods of teaching reading -- "whole language," "phonics" and a multi-sensory method for those learners who need that more structured approach.

The requests for special education in such schools are often as low as 3 percent and, more important, all children are learning to read.

Money would be better spent training Baltimore's teachers in various methods of teaching reading skills. Not only would special ed be reserved for those students who really need individualized attention, but the many students who could successfully function in a regular classroom would be taught more effectively.

Let us hope that more children of Baltimore can be offered a lifetime of literacy.

Gail M. Parker


The writer is director of the tutoring program at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Pub date: 3/14/97

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