Books on Teaching Reading Comprehension

shelved under Expert Opinions and Education

As excerpted from Teacher Magazine:

    A self-proclaimed “book whisperer,” 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn’t turn into a reader.

    On average, her students read more than 50 books a year. Miller's 6th graders have been known to become so engrossed in books that they walk into walls and insist on being photographed with their favorite books in class pictures. Even her former students return to borrow from her library, which has more than 2,000 titles.

    Last year, her students received a 100 percent passing rate on the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, with 90 percent receiving a "recommended" score.

Ms. Miller recommends the following books to teach reading comprehension.

In the Middle: New Understanding About Writing, Reading, and Learning

In the Middle: New Understanding About Writing, Reading, and Learning

by Nancie Atwell

    The best way to teach is to learn together with the students. One of the rare breed of teachers who do know this is Nancie Atwell.
    - The New York Times

When first published in 1987, this seminal work was widely hailed for its honest examination of how teachers teach, how students learn, and the gap that lies in between. In depicting her own classroom struggles, Nancie Atwell shook our orthodox assumptions about skill-and-drill-based curriculums and became a pioneer of responsive teaching. Now, in the long awaited second edition, Atwell reflects on the next ten years of her experience, rethinks and clarifies old methods, and demonstrates new, more effective approaches.

The second edition still urges educators to "come out from behind their own big desks" to turn classrooms into workshops where students and teachers create curriculums together. But it also advocates a more activist role for teachers. Atwell writes, "I'm no longer willing to withhold suggestions and directions from my kids when I can help them solve a problem, do something they've never done before, produce stunning writing, and ultimately become more independent of me."

More than 70 percent of the material is new, with six brand-new chapters on genres, evaluation, and the teacher as writer. There are also lists of several hundred mini-lessons, and scripts and examples for teaching them; new expectations and rules for writing and reading workshops; ideas for teaching conventions; new systems for record keeping; lists of essential books for students and teachers; and forms for keeping track of individual spelling, skills, proofreading, homework, writing, and reading.

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Guiding Readers and Writers: Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy

Guiding Readers and Writers: Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy

by Gay Su Pinnell, Irene C. Fountas

The product of many years of work with classroom teachers, Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6) is one of the most comprehensive, authoritative guides available today. It explores all the essential components of a quality literacy program in six separate sections:

  • Breakthrough to Literacy: Fountas and Pinnell present the basic structure of the language/literacy program within a breakthrough framework that encompasses the building of community through language, word study, reading, writing, and the visual arts. The framework plays out as three "blocks," which can be interpreted as conceptual units as well as segments of time within the school day. Specific information on how to structure a reading and writing workshop is provided. A practical chapter on organizing and managing the classroom will help you implement the principles in your own classroom.
  • Independent Reading: It is essential for students to develop interests and tastes as readers, selecting books for themselves every day. Fountas and Pinnell devote four chapters to independent reading, exploring how to structure teaching, minilessons, conferences, groupshare, and ways to use response journals as part of a reading workshop.
  • Guided Reading: The chapters in this section provide detailed information on planning for guided reading, dynamic grouping for effective teaching, and selecting, introducing, and using leveled texts. Fountas and Pinnell describe characteristics of texts related to difficulty and ways to organize texts in your classroom and school.
  • Literature Study: This section of the book discusses how to make students' experiences with literature as rich as possible. The authors offer specific suggestions for forming groups, guiding student choices, and establishing and teaching routines for literature discussion. A full chapter explores reader response and ways to help readers dig deep to uncover the meaning of texts.
  • Teaching for Comprehension and Word Analysis: This detailed look at the reading process explores both oral and silent reading, processes and behaviors related to comprehension, and ways to help students construct meaning. Included are twelve systems for sustaining the reading process and expanding meaning, plus discussions of the important areas of phonics, spelling, and vocabulary.
  • The Reading and Writing Connection: These chapters showcase the instructional contexts - poetry, writer's notebooks, writer's talks, genre, content literacy, and student research - that support students in connected reading and writing. An informative overview of the characteristics of fiction and nonfiction will help you teach students to read and write a variety of genre. What's more, the authors suggest ways to help students learn the "genre" of testing and perform the kinds of reading and writing tasks that tests require. They also detail the continuous thoughtful assessment that guides all aspects of effective teaching.

A special feature appears at the end of each section, in which Fountas and Pinnell provide indispensable suggestions for working with struggling readers and writers.

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Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Independent Reading 4-12

Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Independent Reading 4-12

by Janet Allen

Jennie from Manchester, England says:

As a teacher, I found this book invaluable: both as a reference for specific interventions and as a "pick me up" for those times when you feel as if you are struggling against the tide. There are a few great reading books out there (Kylene Beers' books are amazing) and this one deserves to be shelved along with them.

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Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement

Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement

by Anne Goudvis, Stephanie Harvey

Lisa Coleman says:

An awesome resource for introducing and reinforcing strategies for comprehension with your students or own children. They use old standards and many new examples of chidrens literature to present lessons that are engaging and productive.

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