Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Readings: Johnson and Louis - Learning To Walk

I began reading Literacy Through Literature by Terry D. Johnson and Daphne R. Louis today and was immediately struck by the their gentle but persuasive argument for a whole language approach. I will certainly be sharing what I learn as I get deeper into this book. Here's a particularly lovely paragraph to whet your appetite. Even if you have different views about how literacy should be achieved, this is a great example of argument by analogy.

"Children will not benefit from being told about language. What they do need is help in getting started, gentle feedback on their attempts to do so, and kind tolerance of their errors. Learning to walk offers a useful analogy. Very young children clutch at furniture for support, tire easily and fall down a lot. When all else fails, they regress to crawling. The role of the expert walkers around them is instructive. They act as if there is no doubt the children will eventually learn. Praise is given for effort, and support is rushed forward to eliminate the consequences of error. No one sneers at the first fumbling attempts. Perfection is never expected. No one imagines that explaining to a child how one walks will help her or him do so. Success, given adequate physical equipment, is essentially universal. Few children are sent to remedial walking schools!"

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful analogy, Brian. I will use it in class and I must add this book to my collection (and read it!). Thanks.