by Cynthia Voigt
Dicey's Song Theme of Education
It’s time for some real talk: there are some seriously whack educators at the Tillermans' school. Mr. Chappelle accuses the best writer in his class of plagiarism, James’s teacher doesn’t challenge him at all, and Maybeth’s teacher insists that Maybeth keep trying to read through memorization, even though it isn’t working. And don't even get us started on Miss Eversleigh. At least there’s Mr. Lingerle, who may just be saving Maybeth’s life by giving her piano lessons. In Dicey's Song, the true educators are the ones who let you realize your full potential, rather than try to fit you into a box.
Questions About Education
- Which do you think is a better way of learning to read: whole language (recognizing entire words), like Maybeth’s teacher uses, or phonics (sounding out words), like James uses? Why do you think so?
- Do you think Maybeth might be a savant, someone who is learning disabled in one area but a genius in another?
- How does Dicey come to view intelligence—and, for that matter, Maybeth—differently through knowing Millie?
- Who's Dicey's best teacher? Who's the worst?
Chew on This
Dicey learns that in the end, the only teacher you can rely on is yourself.
What makes Miss Eversleigh a bad teacher is not the fact that she teaches girls girly stuff, but the fact that she's so cruel while she's at it.