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Kilbey 230068604 EDUC 340 Dr. Bill Hay September 28, 2010

Article Review

Kathy G. Short argues for a balance between reading for learning, and

learning reading, in her 1999 article The Search for Balance in a Literature-Rich Curriculum. This article highlights a number of issues that I feel very connected to, as well as feel need to be focused on when incorporating different learning styles, as well as different focuses that can be utilized when educating students. As an educator Short (1999) struggled with the direction that the literacy

curriculum was headed, and saw an increased emphasis on reading for competency, and a shift away from reading for knowledge (131). Reflecting on her life as an active reader, and lover of books, Short (1999) developed a curriculum that incorporated all elements of reading, including learning language, learning through language, and learning about language. Learning language highlights that children learn to read by reading and by being surrounded by other readers [and gain a true understanding of how stories work] learning through language highlights that reading is a way of learning about the world and oneself [and] learning about language involves looking and language itself through examining the nature and function of language and literature (133). Although not necessarily supported by her district, Short (1999) began developing a heightened literacy curriculum that

she felt benefited her students, yet still covered all necessary curriculum requirements pertaining to literacy. This article really spoke to me. Short (1999) highlights a number of issues

regarding curriculum that I think are pertinent when approaching material, devising a plan for students. For example, Short (1999) emphasizes a need for concern for students needs (134), the importance of making curriculum meaningful (133), encouraging change (134), the promotion of balance (134), and the challenges that, specifically literacy, curriculum will face in the future (136). Building curriculum around the needs and desires of students is of most

importance to me as a future educator. When approaching what to teach, like Short (1999) I feel inspired to go beyond the designed curriculum standards and fill, what I consider to be, the voids in my students education. Short (1999) say a deficit in her students love of literature, as she felt it was being phased-out of the literacy curriculum. As an active reader, her experience with books, and how they influence their readers view of the world, and increase their readers knowledge base, pushed her to change the focus of the literacy curriculum so that it could incorporate an element of reading for learning. As well as placing a focus on the students needs, Short (1999) argues that

curriculum needs to be meaningful to a student. Short (1999) argues that in regards to literacy students have no reason to care about reading strategies and skills because they are not using reading for purposes that are meaningful in their lives nor do they have enough opportunities to actually read and use these strategies (133). I think this is another crucial element to the development and maintenance of

curriculum. When the curriculum has meaning to a student, and they can see how it will influence their life and gain on their perspective, they engage more fully. When you can show a student that a certain learning objective can enhance their lives and focus on their interests, you will see an increased reception to material presented. While making the curriculum meaningful, Short (1999) also argues that it

needs to have a balance. In her experience with literacy, and its shift away from literature appreciation, she incorporated a number of different learning outcomes and argues that although there are overarching powers in regards to curriculum, it is the teacher that makes the difference (131), and that no one way can be best for everyone. The incorporation of different learning styles, and well as different elements within the curriculum develop a more well-rounded and engaged student. Lastly, Short (1999) outlines the challenges changing curriculum faces, as

well as the encouragement for change that is needed in the school system. Driven by the teachers and staff, Short argues that while curriculum in most classrooms is becoming an eclectic one that shifts according to the public mood and the current set of teacher manuals, in a few classrooms and schools, teachers will continue to seek out potentials offered by integrating literature into an inquiry curriculum (137). I can only hope that this is true. Inspired by Shorts (1999) focus on developing curriculum and learning objectives that are of importance to the growth and development of students, I can only hope to base my curriculum model, on a few of the important arguments that she has outlined in her curricular transition from a learning reading literacy curriculum, to a reading for learn literacy curriculum.

This article has helped me gain insight to the challenges faced by teachers in

their struggle with curriculum models, and how to develop and expand on implemented curriculum in order to meet my potential students needs. Not only to I agree with Shorts (1999) argument for a change of focus on literacy and its movement away from loving literature in lieu of learning to read, I also think she has outlined a number (possibly not intentionally) of issues posed by a teachers concern that curriculum is not stimulating, or contributing to the better learning of students.

Works Cited
Short, Kathy G. The Search for "Balance" in a Literature-Rich Curriculum. THEORY INTO PRACTICE 38.5 (1999): 130-137.