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[Susan notes:

This letter attests to the power of newspaper in classrooms. Part of that power is in the papers themselves; part is in NOT quizzing students on what they read.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published
07/16/2003

To the editor



Since "When Data Don't Mean That One

Way Is Best" (Education, July 16) maybe

we should just stop SCHOOLING and

start EDUCATING.



As did an untrained friend who was given

a poor, failing, mostly black, 4th-grade class.



First he locked all school stuff except

pencils and paper. He gave no homework

and had no report cards.



But each day he had a few copies of the

daily newspaper.



He then HELPED them teach themselves to read

by reading aloud and then having them read in unison.

They worked the scores and wrote to their sports

heroes. Human interest stuff was also emphasized.



Kids moved around, helped each other, and were

never quizzed.



And guess what? By year's end the average

child was reading above grade level on national

norms while I believe they also did very well in

both writing and arithmetic.



Robert E. Kay, M. D.


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