What Can Parents Do?

Published April 1, 1999

Parents can work for better reading instruction using the ideas offered by Sandra Stotsky in the concluding chapter of her book, Losing Our Language.

Assess Textbooks and Teachers
Parents should assess their children’s textbooks and teachers. Stotsky highlights sources for accurate information and gives examples of some quality instructional readers.

Identify Who Is Responsible
Would-be reformers first should determine who is responsible for shaping the reader textbooks and teaching practices–the academic consultants, teacher colleges, and pressure groups that have engineered the move away from demanding academic standards and toward a strident political and social agenda.

Apply Pressure
Turning back the anti-intellectual tide requires changing teacher education and the standards adopted by school districts. Stotsky offers parents tips on how to influence these areas.

Explore Alternatives
Stotsky urges parents to explore alternatives to the public education status quo: core knowledge curricula, charter schools, private schools, even home schooling. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how any systematic reform of reading instruction will take place without such measures.