Whether you have a child with average reading ability, a child with strong reading skills, or a struggling reader, rigorous literacy instruction is at the core of a good program. I had the great pleasure of reviewing a book by Doug Lemov, Colleen Driggs, and Erica Woolway called Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction. This book, which comes along with a resource DVD and a PIN to view video clips from Teach Like a Champion website that demonstrate proven teaching techniques. One such technique is shown below, but there are many more videos on the website that will help anyone become a better teacher, whether you’re in or out of the classroom:
The DVD itself contains 40 video clips from real classrooms that will help your children become lifelong readers and learners. Plan to share this book with my reading cohort at work if only for the great resources on the DVD, but the book goes along with the videos step-by-step, explaining the process and providing great examples of each technique with resource sheets.
The first four chapters of the book focus on “the core of the core” and the last four chapters focus on “fundamentals” of rigorous literacy instruction. Here is a breakdown of the chapters:
Chapter 1 goes over text selection and the value of choosing great reading selections. The idea is that what we read matters as much as how we read it.
Chapter 2 talks about Close Reading, provides a definition of close reading, and gives the reader a set of tools to help teachers close read with rigor and insight.
Chapter 3 addresses the importance of non-fiction.
Chapter 4 takes on the topic of writing and specific ways to teach it to help students read more effectively.
Chapter 5 focuses on ensuring students read a lot in a variety of ways–silently, aloud, and being read to.
Chapter 6 takes on vocabulary and proposes a two-part approach using both explicit and implicit vocabulary instruction.
Chapter 7 focuses on consistent ways to approach key activities in the literacy classroom to make them more efficient, productive, and autonomous.
Chapter 8 addresses the ultimate goal of reading instruction: intellectual autonomy.
“Ultimately, Reading Reconsidered is about the enduring power of reading to shape and develop minds, both in the classroom and, ultimately, outside of it,” adds Woolway. “It’s an anxious time for many teachers but also a time of great opportunity. This book will provide a roadmap from confusion to success.”
[bctt tweet=”Excellence in almost any school subject requires strong reading. How to Increase Reading Rigor!” username=”embracespectrum”]
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About the Authors of Reading Reconsidered:
Doug Lemov is the author of Teach Like a Champion, which was based on his study of top teachers in high-poverty public schools. He is also the author of Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better, an engaging book on the importance of practice. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College, a Master of Arts from Indiana University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Colleen Driggs is a Professional Development Specialist who previously taught 5th-grade reading and served as Reading Department Chair at True North Rochester Prep, a member of Uncommon Schools. She has several years experience teaching, took part of the Leadership Team at Rochester Prep in 2007 to help students get to college. She holds a BA in Psychology from Hamilton College and an MA in Elementary Education from Pace University.
Erica Woolway is the Chief Academic Officer of the Teach Like a Champion Team at Uncommon Schools. She leads external workshops, creates training materials, and continues the work on Middle School Reading. Prior to this, she was the Director of Staff Development for two Uncommon Networks. She has several years experience in education, worked as a school counselor at Orange High School in New Jersey and Hunter College High School in New York City, and worked with families as a case worker in Camden, New Jersey. Woolway holds a BA in Psychology from Duke University, an Ed.M. in School Counseling from Teachers College, and an MA in School Leadership from National Louis University.
Reading Reconsidered was published by Wiley, Jossey-Bass in February 2016.