The Art, the Science, and the Practical Application
Teaching is an art-form. It is also a science. Where the two meet is the practical and magical application of what happens in the classroom.
Books on teaching are ubiquitous; they are anywhere and everywhere and cover a full range of educational topics. Our focus for this post is books about teaching reading. Whether you are an elementary teacher, a secondary teacher or a content area teacher, you are a teacher of reading.
Depending on your mood, interest, or pressing need, we hope one or more of these titles calls out to you.
The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller speaks to the heart and art of teaching. This inspirational book describes the powerful impact a teacher who believes in the magic of reading can have on his/her students. Donalyn Miller provides numerous methods for instilling this same love of reading in students through intrinsic motivation rather than through contrived external motivators. She explains ways in which teachers can add extra minutes of reading throughout the day without taking away from the “must-do” curriculum. She also provides practical advice on how to manage a classroom of diverse readers and meaningful ways to monitor their reading. If you don’t have time to waste, want to be inspired, and want all of your students to develop a deep love of reading by the time they leave you at the end of the year, then this book is for you!
Assessment for Reading Instruction by Michael McKenna and Katherine A. Dougherty Stahl: According to McKenna, reasons for difficulties in comprehension can be broken into three global categories: Automatic Word Recognition, Language Comprehension and Strategic Knowledge. This book serves to explore each of these areas more finitely. McKenna and Stahl explicitly describe the main areas of reading and their subsequent building blocks, various assessment tools that can be used to probe more deeply into these specific areas, as well as particular remediation techniques for each of the areas. This book is an essential tool for both new and seasoned teachers.
The Practical Application
Notice and Note by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst: This book is where it all comes together in a fine weave of practical and magical application. This book provides the teacher with hands-on, user-friendly strategies to help readers build comprehension and develop independence. Having spent many years in the primary classroom, our Reading Intervention Program expanded from K-3 to K-6. We needed some guidance in helping upper elementary students develop comprehension skills. How could we break down intermediate texts in such a way that 9-12 year-olds could understand and extend their thinking? Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst came to our rescue. Their guide posts from Contrasts and Contradictions to Tough Questions provided concrete examples and were kid-friendly enough to help readers meet with success. If you’re feeling a little lost with regard to building reading comprehension, Notice and Note will steer you in the right direction.
We’d love to hear from you. Have you read any of these recommended titles? Would you recommend them and why? Are there other titles that you’ve found instrumental in your teaching? We are always looking for good suggestions.