It’s not too late to squeeze in a few more professional reads this summer!
As mentioned in a previous book review post, teaching reading is an art-form. It is also a science. Here we discuss three more titles; each one addressing a different aspect of teaching reading: the art, the science, and the practical application.
Reality Checks: Teaching Reading Comprehension with Nonfiction K-5 by Tony Stead: Reality Checks is an old favorite of ours, mainly because Tony Stead gets kids. He gets that instruction needs to be developmentally appropriate as well as engaging. He recognizes the importance of making the most of teachable moments but urges teachers not to sacrifice the integrity of a well-crafted lesson. Tony Stead understands how kids think and has incorporated this knowledge into practical classroom techniques for teaching nonfiction.
Best of all, each of the recommended practices have been field-tested by him.
Several key ideas are outlined to help young readers get the most out of reading nonfiction. These components are: layers of questioning (literal, interpretive and evaluative), vocabulary development, the importance of reading aloud, the use of guided reading to extend students’ thinking, and the importance of assessment to inform instruction. Every one of these categories is explained in sensible terms with handy charts, organizers, checklists and planners provided. Completed samples as well as blank templates are included. These are not cumbersome charts designed in theory by a researcher. These are organizers that have been designed, applied, and tweaked for ease of use by real classroom teachers.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, teaching is an art form. Tony Stead proves he’s an artist.
Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills 3rd Edition by Judith R. Birsh: This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s also one you may want to read during the summer because it’s so dense. That being said, this book does not necessarily have to be read cover-to-cover. Each of the 23 chapters stands on its own so the book can be used as a reference tool. Some of the chapters may not apply to your current teaching situation such as the chapters on Multisensory Mathematics Instruction or Working with High-Functioning Adults with Dyslexia. A plethora of experts collaborated on this comprehensive resource and it came highly recommended to us by our Wilson training instructor. You are sure to find something of value in the book and, more than likely, will return to it again and again throughout the school year.
The Practical Application
Wiring the Brain for Reading: Brain-based Strategies for Teaching Literacy by Marilee Springer: This user-friendly book provides nontechnical information on the science or neurobiology of reading. But the author doesn’t stop there! She offers meaningful activities teachers can implement that support each of the five areas of structured literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Whether you are well-versed in the science of reading or new to this subject area, you will find something of value in this book. You are sure to find a helpful technique or strategy that will get your school year off to a strong start!
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.