Provide Our Students with Textual Feasts

I've heard Dr. Alfred Tatum state that we need to provide our students with “textual feasts” to build their intellect, and the phrase and concept has stuck with me ever since.

It resonated with me because there’s a very strong tendency, when serving our students who may need more support with understanding academic texts (such as students learning English, or students with disabilities, or students living in situations with acute and chronic stressors), to provide less frequent opportunities to engage with written texts that are intellectually and linguistically demanding. Because it’s assumed that they can’t handle it.

So students are given lower level texts. Less texts. Less discussion. Less writing about texts. Watered down tasks.

Why do we assume our children are so fragile and so incapable of intellectual engagement?

Instead of giving them less, what if we gave them more? What if we hosted a daily textual and linguistic feast? What if we read aloud above grade-level texts to them, and students read and re-read and discussed grade-level passages with one another, and read a variety of texts at different levels of accessibility to build knowledge and language? What if we scaled across such a multiplicity of texts like this across disciplines every single day?

#readalouds #reading #knowledge #language #mindset #textualfeasts