Reading Curriculum Provides the Structure for Education

Article excerpt

Byline: Howard Crouse

Curriculum review is an important process for any school district.

Once every seven to 10 years, we review the Illinois Learning Standards, what and how we teach and what the research tells us about instruction in a particular discipline. Then we select textbooks and instructional materials that best support that curriculum.

In Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and in most other districts, the reading curriculum is by far the largest component of our entire curriculum. It impacts not only the elementary and middle school reading program, but also how reading is taught and applied through other subjects and departments.

At our recent curriculum committee meeting, our staff provided the board of education with an overview of the work done by our literacy council and curriculum writers over the last 18 months.

This group of talented teachers from every grade level created a great foundation for our reading curriculum. They spent this summer putting the final touches on the printed materials and on the staff development programs needed to introduce the reading curriculum to our faculty.

Our reading curriculum brings together the Illinois Learning Standards and our own Reading Instruction Framework. The learning standards are the Illinois State Board of Education's expectations of what a student at a particular grade level should be able to do. These standards are the basis of the ISAT and PSAE tests given to our students.

To date, the state has not promoted a statewide curriculum, but these standards clearly dictate a significant portion of one. The state's intrusion on a local school board's curricular control is our new reality in response to increased demands for accountability and No Child Left Behind legislation.

The state has produced its own assessment framework that tells districts exactly how those standards will be measured beginning in 2006. We see this as a significant and welcome improvement of the state's assessment program.

Our reading curriculum stresses the content of reading instruction and five processes for teaching those content areas. …