It all started with 7th grade reading WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning, used to meet state and federal testing requirements) scores. We had just finished the annual staff meeting of humiliation in which yet another year of the results of our non-progress on the annual state assessments in reading, writing and math had been presented to us. I was teaching social studies in a low-income urban middle school where our low WASL reading scores had not budged in several years. I knew I had personally been trying to help my social studies students read and write better by having them read and write more, but I also knew that I was not acquainted with whatever magic was involved in teaching literacy. My frustration erupted as the rest of the staff left the meeting and I lingered to speak to my principal.



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