Lately our company has been taking a new approach to solving problems. The new approach has derived from the problem-solving advice found in Dale Carnegie’s book: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. When a problem arises the initial response should not be to go to someone else for a solution. The problem should be analyzed to discover:
1. Why is this a problem?
2. What are the possible solutions to this problem?
3. What is the best solution of the options?
This process helps us take more responsibility for the problems we face in our work and usually produces the best solution for the problem. As with most companies, Reading Horizons works to solve a problem for its consumer (teachers and parents): how to properly teach beginning and struggling readers. We work to solve this problem by offering an elementary reading curriculum and reading intervention program with corresponding professional development for teachers.
In a recent interview with EdWeek, Dr. Richard Allington, education professor at the University of Tennessee and prevalent early literacy expert and author, answered the questions that must be asked to properly solve the problems facing reading instructors:
Why is it difficult to provide proper reading instruction for students?
“It’s not a question that we don’t know what to do. It’s a question of having the will to develop full literacy in this country, and to organize schools and allocate money in ways that would allow us to do that.”
“Unfortunately, we have good evidence that a lot of kindergarten and 1st grade teachers in this country are just not very skilled in teaching reading. And a lot of them also assume that if a kid is struggling and is way behind in reading, he must have some neurological problem, and therefore it’s not their job to teach him…”
“Teachers know who needs help. If they don’t know, they shouldn’t be teaching… They just don’t know what to do with a kid who’s in trouble.”
What are the possible solutions to providing proper reading instruction for students?
“We have studies involving multiple school districts and hundreds or thousands of kids demonstrating that, with quality instruction and intervention, 98 percent of all kids can be reading at grade level by the end of 1st or 2nd grade.”
“RTI [Response to Intervention] works best if it’s started in kindergarten and 1st grade—we know how to solve those problems.”
“…You can do a lot by strengthening instruction.”