October 17, 2021

EPISODE 5: WOKE READING

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello, my socially responsible and every evolving tribe and welcome to revoke rewriting our kids education podcast. My name is Michelle person and we are on our journey. We are rethinking re-examining and re-educating ourselves and our children. Last week, we talked about being woke in the classroom. What it looks like, what it doesn’t look like and how to advocate for one at your child’s school this week. And for the next few weeks, we will be digging into specific subjects at school, reading, writing, math, social studies, the arts. What does it mean to be woke and all of these subjects this week? What does it mean to be woke and reading class? What tools do you need to support your woke reader at home? Our guest today is a master reading teacher, Andrea Moore. She is a woman who became so frustrated with the lack of representation in our schools and the very rigid traditional ways in which she was being forced to teach that she started her own school. My favorite quote from Frederick Douglas is once you learn to read, you will be forever free. How free are you? How free are our kids and oh yeah.

Speaker 1 00:01:17 Are you <inaudible>

Speaker 0 00:01:42 We know injustice exists in the world. We know it permeates every aspect of society, including education. Last week, we talked about how it impacts the overall classroom setting. And this week we are specifically looking into how it impacts reading instruction. My guest, Andrea Baysmore is here to talk about what solid instruction looks like, so you can spot it when you see it and demand it when you don’t. Andrea, thank you so much for stopping by and talking to our listeners about what great reading instruction looks like.

Speaker 2 00:02:16 Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. Nope

Speaker 0 00:02:19 Problem. Um, can you give the listeners a little bit of more background about who you are and how you started?

Speaker 2 00:02:28 Sure. Um, so, uh, I am under a base where I own the block apple virtual school, um, as well as the box blast, apple, um, company. Um, so the black apple virtual school is a virtual school that grade. Um, we teach, uh, all the core subjects, reading math, science, and social studies. Um, and we also teach, uh, uh, subjects interesting, um, teaching, um, similar to like a eclectic homeschooling. Um, so counseling is letting kids, uh, focus on what they want to learn, um, and teaching them through that. Um, so that’s a little bit of what I do. Um, I have taught for seven years, so this is my second year owning a school and teaching ninth grade. Um, but, uh, we’ve got really great, um, success rates, um, closing on about four years of reading and math, um, growth during the pandemic. Um, so it’s really thankful to be here.

Speaker 0 00:03:31 I mean, that’s amazing. Talk to me a little bit about what it was like to be a teacher very early on in their career and make the decision, you know, what this isn’t working, I’m going to start something different. I want to start my own. I think it’s important to hear what led you to deciding to start your own school.

Speaker 2 00:03:49 Yeah. Um, so I’ve always been very entrepreneurial. Um, even when I was younger, um, I led, um, play dentist at school and actually like I would charge kids to pull their teeth out and first grade, um, and I was hurting them a quarter and I would pull fours, four people see about, um, Monday through Thursday and Friday I would buy an ice cream, which is a dollar. Um, so that was literally my first business, um, in first grade and I got in trouble for it. Uh, but, um, I’ve just, I’ve just always, um, kind of looked for the second way, um, look to go against the grain. I come from a long line of educators and, uh, so basically I knew that I was gonna do something different when I was starting to utilize like hip hop and education, um, uh, remixing, you know, so very similar to like what you see on like Tik TOK, some things like that before they went viral or anything.
Speaker 2 00:04:51 Um, but I just thought, oh, really big connection with teaching. I still teach, I still talk to my first class ever. Um, some of them are actually my students now in my own school. This is pretty cool. Um, and, uh, um, my second year of teaching, I had the exact same, you know, testing rates as a 20 year teachers. And so I knew I was doing something right. And I knew if I, my second year I could get those scores or what, you know, what to say happens next. Um, so just started, uh, doing things that were different in school and started getting really high test scores. Um, and then the pandemic came and I was like, well, it’s either now or never. And so I chose now,

Speaker 0 00:05:39 I completely understand that a lot of pandemic that I was like, you know what it’s now or never. Um, so that’s an amazing journey that you’ve had there. Um, you spoke to the back that you were able to with the, the way in which you approach learning the different things that you implemented, you were seeing scores and gains, particularly in reading and math, that veteran teachers who had been learning their craft for years and years for we’re just now approaching. So can you talk to the listeners about what does good reading instruction look like? How did you get those great, those great reading scores?
Speaker 2 00:06:17 Um, so, uh, good reading instruction, um, really takes place, um, with the foundation of phonics. Um, I found that out at a unconference event, um, for black teachers, um, it was, uh, I was teaching, uh, third grade at the time. And, um, it was really the first time that I could network with high school teachers and pre-K teachers. And I was saying, um, high school teachers don’t know how to teach their ninth and 10th graders how to read, um, cause they had had gaps. Um, and, uh, I had seen my third grade, um, students don’t know how to read. Um, and so I realized that the really big missing point was pre-K and kindergarten instruction. Um, pre-K kinder first and second. Um, so I really wanted to focus on those years and figure out why are we failing so much in those key areas? And a lot of it is not understanding how, uh, phonics works, um, about, uh, let’s see, 2008, um, New York city public schools, um, uh, got with Lucy Caulkins, um, and kind of did away with phonics instruction and that kind of led to the history of a huge gap of kids, not learning how to read very well.

Speaker 2 00:07:40 Um, and we now know that that data is really faulty just to talk about, is that data, does that work? What’s his spot? Um, so any good, um, reading program is going to start out with a very, very strong clinic program. So understanding what, um, what letter sounds are, what, um, uh, what three letters, CVC, uh, consonant, vowel, consonant, how that makes, um, uh, work, um, and then getting into, um, harder diagraphs and knowing those phonics skills, all of my kids, uh, who are learning to read, know the phonetics roles and know which words they’re obviously sight words, um, in words, what words do they can sound out. Um, so that allows them to be really great readers.

Speaker 0 00:08:28 That is, it is so funny when you were saying, oh, when you mentioned first off Lucy Caulkins cause I’m definitely familiar with then. Uh, and then when you mentioned the phonics, the phonics debate, like I have to say it was before even 2008. I remember when I was in there and I’m a little bit older than her. I actually have the paper that I wrote in undergrad, uh, when I was advocating. Yeah, I wrote it in probably my, it was about, it was 2000. Um, and there was a huge rage at the time that I was entering education, um, about bonding language and Lucy Calkins, essentially, it’s kind of a whole language proponent. And what that means is, uh, parents, if you’re not familiar is that there is, you can like teaching children, reading by breaking down the sounds and teaching them each individual sound and then teaching them the rules for putting those sounds together versus the idea that children will learn how to read by just being exposed to it and they’ll pick it up organically.

Speaker 0 00:09:27 Um, and so, you know, there was a, there’s a huge debate, you know, in the late nineties, early two thousands. And I, and I, and I agree with Andrea. Um, one of the things that they will put they have found is particularly for our children. Um, if you don’t give them that systematic phonics instruction, um, they are not because our speech pattern is different. Our informal relaxed, each pattern is very different than our Caucasian brethren. And because of that rules, we don’t pick them up as easily. The rules we don’t because we don’t speak that way. So if you want us to be able to read books the way that they are written and not the way in which we speak, um, you have to make sure that we teach us the rules. And a lot of these programs had done away with like, like Andre mentioned strong core phonics programs.

Speaker 0 00:10:20 And so I’m so glad to hear you first off. I’m so glad to hear someone that a is teach for America, teach for fellow teach for America alum. Um, also a little bit younger generation recognize the importance of phonics because see that. So I’m so happy to hear that that, that shift is happening for some of us in education. Um, but also yes, that, that you’re using it with your students. Um, so parents, um, you might be in a school where you hear your hero, your, your child’s teacher talk to you about readers writers workshop, or, you know, you know, and, and all the work, uh, and, and the daily five, um, you know, those are very popular programs that are, that are in some of our traditional public schools. Do your research, Google those terms, the daily five readers writers workshop, but, and make sure you’re asking your teachers, um, you know, this is great. What are you doing to supplement to make sure they’re learning, they’re having strong phonics instruction. Um, that’s a recommendation that I would have, um, as you’re looking for those instructional strategies that produce strong readers with our children, Andrea, I’m going to ask you what three things do you think that, um, what are the top three things? The teacher who instructs a diverse group of kids, meaning mostly black and brown learners, what should, what their, what are the top three things that you think of teachers should be doing? And that is your primarily class makeup.

Speaker 2 00:11:45 Yeah. Um, so the first thing, um, that I tell teachers to do to get, um, is, uh, contact or district to make sure that you guys have rashes. Um, so rascal is, is a program.

Speaker 0 00:11:59 One more time, contact rats kids. Hi,

Speaker 2 00:12:02 Con Raz-Kids R a Z K I D S. Um, so, uh, baskets is a program that I use in my school. I’ve actually bought the, um, the curriculum myself when my district did it. Um, so that is the number one thing that is going to allow, uh, for you to have access to, um, not only, uh, just books in English, English, um, books, then all different types of languages. Um, so we use rapid for our foreign language, um, at our school. Um, but it will give kids be codeable readers, um, that will allow them to read at their individual level, um, pre-K through about, um, fifth or sixth grade. Um, and so what that does is it allows you to start at the beginning, uh, very, um, like pre reader books, you know, the kind of books, uh, Jack and Jill went up the hill type books, um, lining, uh, um, they’ve also got folktale books as well.

Speaker 2 00:13:04 Um, but the reason why I say go to re-ask kids, um, is because that will last you, the duration of a child’s, um, uh, reading development, especially if they’re younger. Um, they do a really good job, um, with culturally responsive teaching. So, um, earlier on when you were getting books that your kids were just learning to read, um, they, uh, probably didn’t have a lot of characters that looked like them. Um, didn’t have characters that were doing activities that reflected what kids wanted to do. Um, but last kids does a very good job at making sure that their materials are really culturally relevant and responsive and reflective of artists backgrounds. Um, so I definitely, um, uh, have all kids do that. Um, uh, so make contact your district. Um, don’t pay out of pocket. Like I did contact your district and tell them that this is what works. Um, so if you’re in the classroom, you can print the books. I use it virtually. So I assigned my kids books, um, and it gives everything that I would need the quiz, I stopped the audio. Um, and so it’s the best program on the marketplace for reading education.

Speaker 0 00:14:23 I just want to drop in and say, parents, um, Raz kids, you can buy it individually. If your school doesn’t provide it. Like she mentioned that she did definitely should ask and see if the school provides a subscription. A lot of schools do. Um, the program overall is, is reading a to Z. Um, so you could Google reading a, to z.com, um, and Raz kids. They have a bunch of actually a different subsets of the reading, a to Z program. They have Raz-Kids, they have sprout science, science, sprout. They, I mean, they have a, it’s a large, there’s a lot there, and she is very right. Um, the diversity has gotten better, um, as the years have gone. So that’s definitely,

Speaker 2 00:15:04 Yeah. And if you’re a parent looking to purchase it by yourself, um, get in with a group of parents, um, the subscription costs about $120 for a year. Um, but it’s very well worth your money and it’s, you know, funds are limited, um, go and do a buy-in with a group of people. Um, uh, it’s, it’s much cheaper that way. Um, so my second recommendation, uh, for reading instruction, uh, is to make sure that kids reflect themselves in, um, the literature with high quality texts. Um, so the difference here, um, is, uh, your kids, aren’t going to fall in love reading with rockets. This is going to keep some house to read. Um, and then eventually when they get into third grade and learn, uh, read to learn, um, it’ll have a plethora of books that are available, but they’re never, they’re not going to fall in love with reading. Um, so, um, I highly recommend getting Kindle unlimited, um, at 10 to $10 for a subscription per month. Um, and you’ll actually see with Kindle unlimited, they have a lot of, um, BiPAP authors, um, on a wide variety of topics, um, that kids will get to learn from reflected. And, uh, learning is really important. So, uh, uh, when kids see themselves effective, they want to continue to learn, to read and love to read earlier. Kids can see themselves reflected the earlier, they’re going to want to love to

Speaker 0 00:16:38 Read that’s 100%. The reason that this all started this podcast is everything that presents does. It started out as just like me books and just like me books started out of my desire, fill the gap, um, to make sure that there was my first literature. So in addition to Kindle unlimited, please, 100% go to just like me presents that calm click, the just like me book, section click the, just like me pick section, because we also have a wide variety. I have books that I’ve written that are on the, just like me books section, but like, um, Andrea mentioned kids need a wide variety of books that they can pick from so they can see themselves represented. And there are a plethora of authors who have written some really great books, um, you know, all the way from, um, education to, uh, fiction to science related on the, just like me pick page for that same reason because our kids need options. Um, so I love that. So after we teach them the actual, how to read, let’s make sure that they know that they see themselves in what they’re reading. Um, what’s your third, what’s your third takeaway? I’m loving your time. My

Speaker 2 00:17:45 Third, my third tip is for kids to find their genre. Um, uh, so I, um, I really didn’t see myself reflected in literature, um, growing up. Um, but what I did really love were short stories. Um, so chicken, uh, for chicken soup or whatever it’s called, that was like my book, um, in my series growing up reading. Um, and, um, I’ve always been someone who was really interested in nonfiction and stories and podcasts. Um, and so that is what I naturally gravitated towards. Um, I still, today, I’m not a FIC fiction reader. I don’t like reading fiction. Um, and that’s okay. Um, but allowing kids to find their genre, find their niche will allow them, uh, to develop a better sense of self. Um, a lot of my students really like, um, and I mean, mom does. And so they created their own animate, their own log guys. Um, and, uh, that has allowed them to out their own sense of community sense of self. Is that what I would read, but that’s okay. Um, it’s not always about you, um, figure out what your kids

Speaker 0 00:18:56 I’m so glad you said that because I was actually going to add on like the it’s okay. If they don’t want to read what you want to read, as long as they’re reading. And I was actually going to bring up the anime books and, you know, some kids really just really are in the comic books and, um, you know, some books I’ve had, I had a boy in my class who would only read books about football statistics. I didn’t care. He was reading. Yeah, exactly. And let them read as much of it as they want. Um, you definitely tend to Raz kids as a possible, as a, as a resource slash curriculum. Are there any curriculums that you, any other curriculums or that you recommend,

Speaker 2 00:19:36 Um, for reading, um, uh, really great phonics curriculum that we implement in our school, it’s very hard to find. Um, cause it just continued with print. Um, but I’m sure they’ll kind of get back into circulation is Saxon phonics, um, section for kindergarten first and second grade, um, is probably the best phonics program that I know of. Um, off the back of my hand, um, reason is they have really great hands on activities for each, um, before explain the different components of phonics. Um, uh, so, um, uh, explaining, you know, why your, why your voice down the way it sounds when it makes certain letters and, uh, doing so in a creative hands-on way. There’s no curriculum that I found on the market that does that great of a job with phonetic skills that anyone could pick up and read and instruct their child. Um, uh, so that is my go-to phonics program. And like I said, it’s kind of hard to find, um, cause I know eBay, uh, they just went on of print, but I’m sure they’ll get it back into circulation, um, soon, or just find it at a discount bookstore. Uh, they should have at least one of the phonics programs, um, at either first grade or second grade kindergarten is the hardest to find. Um, but uh, you can kind of scroll the internet and it’s out there. Okay.

Speaker 0 00:21:01 That’s a great recommendation. Saxon is, is a, is a big player out there. There are lots of schools that have sacks and math. Um, you know, so, and yes, you can definitely find some stuff with like the you’re right. The sex and besides some phonics is harder, but you never know if you find on eBay contact, some of the people who are selling up and they might have contacts and maybe they can help you find some sixes and snacks and fonts stuff. Are there any, are there any free resources that you can recommend for parents?

Speaker 2 00:21:29 Yeah, so there’s, uh, Florida, um, center for research center, um, FC RC. I can’t remember what the second C stands for. Um, but if you do, FCRC our Florida research center phonics, um, there is a whole scope and sequence of, um, free phonics principles that, uh, university of Florida, uh, uh, created. Um, uh, so they’re all hands on activities that you can print out and do with your kids. Um, it covers, um, everything that you would need to be able to read. Um, uh, so really covering, covering K through second grade skills, um, for, uh, being able to teach phonics and it goes in sequence. So you just, you know, print out the next, um, item and you keep them moving. Um, I also like to do the, um, literacy first test. Um, you can just Google it literacy first. Um, I do that assessment with all of my students, um, to see where they are, um, for their phonics skills.
Speaker 2 00:22:28 Um, so that’s where I tell parents to start out with, because if there’s a gap in reading, there’s probably a gap in phonics. Um, so you always start there. Um, obviously a local library is, uh, a really great resource. Um, so people always skip on the library, but, um, as a library has lots of resources, um, for our kids to explore. Um, not only just with reading, but any other resource material that you may need. Um, so always, um, look at what your local library has and, um, see how they can help you out too.

Speaker 0 00:23:01 Awesome. Is there a way if a parents want to reach out and learn more about the black apple school or ask you more questions, how can listeners get in contact with you?

Speaker 2 00:23:12 Yeah, so we’re at the black apple for ad on all social media platforms. Um, so at black apple, those two words put the number four, an ed for education. Um, you can also email me at Andrea Baysmore, apple.org, um, or message me on any of our social media handles. And, um, if I don’t run it, uh, someone can get in contact with me, um, and they’ll shift your, your way. Uh, so, uh, that’s probably the best way to get in touch with me,

Speaker 0 00:23:43 Parents. I hope you were listening educators. I hope you were listening. Um, and because Andre had dropped a lot of, a lot of nuggets, a lot of great information, a lot of great resources. Thank you so much for your time, Andrea, and we really appreciate you students with strong reading skills score better in math and science and are two times more likely to be college and career ready, meaning they won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on remedial classes and their secondary education. And they are significantly less likely to be incarcerated. We know the stats and now you have some tools in your tool belt to take action. So we can change this narrative show notes and resources to all the awesome things Andrea mentioned are on our Facebook page, www dot just like me presents that, come hop over to the page, just like me presents, join and tell us which one of the tips you found most helpful and which one you might like more information about share this podcast with other parents and educators and your circle and hit subscribe to make sure that you never miss an episode. Thank you again to our guests, Andrea, Baysmore for stopping by the chat with us. Join us next week, we will be talking about what writing instruction reading is only the first step our students are being asked to write more and more at younger and younger ages. Next week, we’ll be exploring strategies and techniques to help support. Thanks again for listening. And remember if our

Speaker 1 00:25:12 Children can see they can achieve it.

Speaker 0 00:25:18 Parents are you frustrated with traditional education? I was educators. Are you struggling to find inclusive academic content that represents your students? I know the feeling that is why I created just like me presents just like me presents is a multimedia production and development company that stresses the importance of literacy, culturally relevant teaching materials and active learning experiences. Check out our culturally responsive books and supplemental curriculums on our website. Www just like me presents.com and the just like me book and just like me pick sections. Your child will be amazed at how many books they can choose from where the characters look like them. They’ve never had math explained the way we do with remember through rhyme and I can guarantee the history we share. And meanwhile, an Africa isn’t taught in any traditional public school. Let us help you get the tools you need to rewrite your child’s education and set them on a path to success. If you have a child in kindergarten through fifth grade, trust me, you’ll want to check us out. I think you’re going to love our programs and the long lasting positive impact they will have on your child. Our programs help students develop a strong sense self of from their identities and encourage critical thinking and entrepreneurship skills. Head on over to the website. Now at www just like me, presents.com and help empower your child to become the best version of themselves. And remember if our children can see it, they can achieve it.

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