This teacher wrote the following response to a post about “close reading” in first grade. When I read her or his comment, I thought of John Greenleaf Whittier’s great poem “Barbara Frietchie.” I leave it to you to figure out why.

The first-grade teacher wrote:

“Retired teacher, you hit the nail on the head! Six year olds are not ready for this! I am a first grade teacher, and this CCSS garbage is going to ruin our children’s education. In desperation this week, I pulled out my old Margaret Hillert books & used them in my reading groups. The children were so excited, and said, “Teacher, we can read these! This is so fun!” It nearly brought me to tears. In first grade, it’s all about Reading, capital R. My job is to make my babies fall in love with the written word-to make them not be able to wait to turn the page to find out for themselves what funny thing Junie B. Jones or Amelia Bedelia is going to do next. I’ve been teaching first graders to read for 19 years. I know what works. I’m keeping the Margaret Hillert books on the reading table and Pearson Publishers, David Coleman, and Bill Gates can come pry them from these gnarled hands.”