Fascinating article in today’s NY Times… the ‘reading workshop’ approach. Through it, students pick the books to read instead of having them all read the same books for class discussion.

This approach seems symptomatic of the individualization going on our lives–and reminds me again of special education with its IEPs (Indidualized Education Programs), each child taught according to his/her needs.

Young elementary school-aged cousins visited us recently. They wanted to play computer games–each his own… Noone wanted to watch TV (all together) and laugh at the jokes together.

My initial thought about the reading workshop approach is a sadness that our young folks will NOT be raised as a community, each sharing and knowing something about the same. We are becoming little islands–centered around our own interests… I find myself agreeing with some of the critics of this approach, such as the comments by Diane Ravitch.

My response? Have some of each–the reading list AND the personal choice. Keep what’s working about those reading lists; don’t throw the baby out–you know.

Your thoughts?

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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