Reading Ruddell, Chapter 1

In the first chapter of Ruddell’s (2008) Teaching Content Reading and Writing, the author catalogs some of the many challenges teachers face today and emphasizes the importance of continuing literacy programs in post-elementary education. Traditionally, secondary educators have assumed that the years in elementary school have provided students with the skills needed to master the discourses of middle school, junior high, and high school, and any focus on reading skills tended to be remedial. Ruddell rightly points out that the study skills and discourses of secondary education subjects are different from those of elementary school; furthermore, she states that it should be the content area teachers, not reading specialists, that train students in these specialized discourses because those teachers are the experts in such discourses. The author makes many good points in this chapter, but she also stumbles into some of my pet peeves, especially when she discusses technology. She mentions, for example, technology terms that were already obsolete in 2008 when the textbook was published like faxing and PDAs. She also makes the common fallacious statement that we will be “amazed” at how comfortable our students are with technology because they are “digital natives.” This is utterly untrue. I am constantly amazed at how uncomfortable my students are with technology. I am far more digitally literate than 99% of my students. They know how to use technology to play games, but when it comes to doing anything useful, the vast majority of them are clueless.

References

Ruddell, M. R. (2008). Teaching content reading and writing (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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