Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Nook: Reading Reconsidered

In 2010, an article was written titled “Building a Better Teacher", which compared two schools of thought: one that teaching skills were the most important driver of classroom learning, the other that content knowledge was the true driver. Some readers saw a conflict between these two perspectives.

Doug Lemov, author of the bestselling book, Teach Like a Champion (a book that contains many techniques that I've been able to incorporate in my own classroom practice), had a more nuanced approach: technique is irreplaceable, but there's no substitute for content knowledge. He, along with like-minded co-authors Erica Woolway and Colleen Driggs, believe that there are subject-specific methods, and write about those in their new book, Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction (Wiley, Jossey-Bass, February 2015).

“Among the core subjects taught in school, reading is the first among equals – the most singular in importance because all others rely on it,” explains Driggs. “Excellence in almost any school subject requires strong reading.”

The book covers eight key elements of reading instruction:

  • Chapter 1: text selection
  • Chapter 2: Close Reading
  • Chapter 3: non-fiction
  • Chapter 4: teaching writing to help students read more effectively.
  • Chapter 5: making sure students read in a variety of ways – silently, aloud and being read to.
  • Chapter 6: vocabulary, including implicit and explicit instruction
  • Chapter 7:  ways to approach key activities in the literacy classroom to make them more efficient, productive and autonomous.
  • Chapter 8:  intellectual autonomy (the ultimate goal of reading instruction)

I'm not a reading teacher, other than for my own two children, but I still gained a lot of insight from this book that I can use in non-reading subject classrooms. It would be a great resource for elementary classrooms, as well as upper-level classrooms in subject areas focused on literacy (ELL, language arts, etc).

You can get a taste for the book in the tiny teaser from the author's blog.

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