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Richard L. Allington is the Fien Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He was a co-recipient of the Albert J. Harris Award from the International ReadingAssociation for his "contributions to the better understanding of reading and learning disabilities". Dick is also a past president of the National Reading Conference and has been elected to membership in the Reading Hall of Fame. He is the author of over 100 research articles and several books, including Classrooms That Work: They Can all Read and Write, Schools that Work: All Children Readers and Writers, and What Really Matters for Struggling Readers.
Patricia M. Cunningham is a professor of Education at Wake Forest University. She has authored and co-authored several books promoting literacy, including Phonics They Use: Words For Reading And Writing, Reading And Writing In Elementary Classrooms: Strategies And Observations, Teachers In Action: The K-5 Chapters From Reading And Writing In Elementary Schools, and Classrooms That Work: They Can All Read And Write.
1.The Schools We Have — What Doesn't Work.
2. The Stories of Schools Where All Children Become Readers and Writers.
3. What Do We Now Know About Reading and Writing?
4. Who Does What?
5. Books, Basals, and Beyond: The Reading and Writing Curriculum.
6. Time: Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Years.
7. Tests, Authentic Assessment, Portfolios, Report Cards, and the Evaluation Process.
8. Professional Development: Key to the Change Process.
9. Family Involvement.
10. Schools That Work for All Our Children.
11. A Tour Through a School: What to Look For.
12. Getting Started.
Posted March 14, 2001
Allington, R. L., & Cunningham, P. M. (1996). Schools That Work: Where all Children Read and Write. New York: Longman *** Summary *** Allington and Cunningham wrote this book as a follow-up to their book Classrooms That Work: They Can All Read and Write. Where the previous book focused on those aspects under the classroom teacher¿s control, this book discusses those things outside the teacher¿s control. Having worked with and in numbers of schools, they have seen ways in which many school organizational structures hinder the creation and maintenance of effective classrooms. They have found that many schools are stuck with ineffective models because historical policies and practices constrain the vision of how schools might change. Throughout the book, they outline the problems and changes required to foster effective schools. In the first two chapters, they begin discussing who is at-risk and what does not work to help these children; specifically, traditional special programs, tracking, and ability grouping. They compare several school reform programs: The Accelerated School, Success For All, Reading Recovery, Schools For The 21st Century, School Power, and the Coalition of Essential Schools. They give a brief analysis, synopsis, and list common features of each program. Understanding that change takes time and requires a change in professional beliefs, they say, is an important step in creating effective schools. Allington and Cunningham, in Chapter 3, discuss what current research has shown us about the learning of reading and writing. They conclude this chapter by stating that every child can become a reader and writer. The authors go on to discuss what should be and should not be the roles of faculty and staff in the school, as well as those of volunteers. They review language arts curriculum- basals, trade books, and other programs, as well as library and class book collections. They discuss ways of expanding a classroom library and getting books into the hands of children. They discuss the ¿time¿ factor- how to get those uninterrupted stretches of instructional time, how to reduce transitional times, and how extended time plans work. Allington and Cunningham address the proper uses of standardized testing, what is and how to implement alternative assessments, and handling portfolios. They briefly touch on report cards and national standards. In chapter 8, the authors explain how professional development is the key to change. Changing current ineffective professional development involves looking for alternatives, addressing stages in the professional lifecycle, and creating an action plan. Nurturing family involvement is the next topic to be covered, and following, the authors review services for handicapped children, classroom discipline, high-mobility families, and diversity. The last chapter addresses how to get started. Change, they say, starts with one classroom. *** Critique *** I enjoyed the authors¿ frank, simple talk about real problems and real solutions. They were up-front about issues and the stumbling blocks to implementation of effective policies and practices. Their emphasis is that the teacher makes all the difference, along with supportive administration. Their proposition that any interventions provided by persons other than the classroom teacher need to be conducted within the classroom, not only to decrease transition time for students, but also to integrate classroom teaching and specialized services. They are critical of the practice of using paraprofessionals to work with special ed students- using the least trained to teach the ones who need the most intensive, enriched instruction just does not make sense, they say. I have to agree. Their comparison of language arts curriculums was fair- they agree with current research in that it is not the method, but the teacher who makes the difference for children learning to read. Their position that standardized tests need to be administered o
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