How is NYC’s literacy curriculum mandate going? Teachers feel unprepared.

How is NYC’s literacy curriculum mandate going? Teachers feel unprepared.

For nearly all of her decadelong teaching career, Abby Loomis used one of the most popular reading programs in New York City, a curriculum that aimed to foster a love of literature by giving students plenty of time to independently read books of their choosing.

She found the program, developed by Teachers College professor Lucy Calkins, engaging — particularly for students who were easily absorbed by books. Still, she noticed many other children struggled to read independently, and Loomis cobbled together other resources to help them.

So, the fourth grade teacher felt open minded when the city announced in May a sweeping overhaul of elementary literacy instruction, forcing schools to abandon programs like Calkins’ in favor of those that city officials say line up with an established body of research about how children learn to read, often called the “science of reading.”

But a couple months into the city’s curriculum overhaul, Loomis and several other teachers said they haven’t yet received the training they need to make it work.

“The general sentiment at my school is we’re being asked to start something without really knowing what it should look like,” said Loomis, who asked that her Brooklyn school not be named. “I feel like I’m improvising — and not based on the science of reading.”

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