- Paperback: 456 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 29, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1119104246
- ISBN-13: 978-1119104247
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction 1st Edition
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From School Library Journal
Lemov, Woolway, and Driggs believe that reading instruction needs a serious makeover. They argue that current literacy instruction delegates too much choice to students amid "benignly appealing youth fiction written after 1980" while nonfiction and older fiction texts (the stuff of college) are a mere afterthought. The authors call on educators to focus on "the core of the core": harder texts, close reading, more nonfiction, and frequent writing in response to reading as the main approach to ameliorate declining SAT scores. Part 1 details this instructional core, while part 2 gets into the nitty-gritty of teaching strategies: vocabulary instruction, approaches to "independent" reading, text annotation, and more. Each chapter is broken into discrete modules for study and implementation, accompanied by a collection of videos from the classrooms of UnCommon School teachers. The authors clearly demonstrate a respect for teachers and students. With many references to E.D. Hirsch, readers may be concerned that a revival of the traditional canon is on the horizon. However, the authors advocate for an "internal canon" selected purposefully by teachers. While many of the strategies are supported by relevant research in the field, there is scant reference made to research on the importance of student choice in reading. VERDICT Though the context for change might be debatable, many of the instructional strategies may offer ideas for teaching.—Ernie Cox, Prairie Creek Intermediate School, Cedar Rapids, IA
“This concentrates so much outstanding material in the space of a book, plus an excellent DVD showing the approach in practice, that it should be read by every headteacher and English co-ordinator in the country and incorporated into training for new and practising teachers.” (Conservative Home, May 2016)
“…contains a wealth of information and practical advice – most of it distilled from experienced practitioners – that will be of benefit to anyone teaching reading and literacy.” (InTuition, June 2016)
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Lemov, et al.'s book is organized around the "Core of the Core," that is, the four key elements/goals of the Common Core ELA standards: 1) Read harder texts, 2) Close read texts rigorously and intentionally, 3) Read more nonfiction more effectively, 4) Write more effectively in direct response to texts.
To illustrate the authors' attention to detail, take the example of reading harder texts. Lemov and his co-authors identify five "plagues" or obstacles to student comprehension of difficult works of fiction (their discussion of non-fiction is later, but some of the same lessons apply). So, if we want kids to ultimately be able to read the wide variety of texts they will be exposed to in a rigorous college education, we need to design an ELA curriculum that gradually enables them to overcome these obstacles (Of course, this can also apply to what kids read at home, with parents or by themselves).
The five "plagues" are: 1) archaic text, 2) non-linear time sequence, 3) complexity of narrator, 4) complexity of story (plot and symbolism), 5) resistant text. So, an elementary or middle school curriculum that is looking forward to those difficulties will have books that prepare students to address these kinds of difficulties (the authors offer lots of specific suggestions for each kind of problem).
Focusing on the example of archaic text (e.g. Dickens, Shakespeare)--For the authors, we need to include books in the curriculum (and read books at home) that prepare kids for these challenges. Some examples for younger kids: Beatrix Potter books, The Velveteen Rabbit, Little House on the Prairie, Mary Poppins, and Black Beauty. The specific books aren't especially important to them--it's that these books are older, include locutions and words that students will not get immediately, but are still accessible (especially if read aloud by an adult) and enjoyable. You don't want kids to confront Dickens or Darwin without ever having prepared for it by reading "pre-complex" texts.
They do the same thing for the other "plagues"--suggest books that kids can read to become used to unreliable narration, say, or non-linear stories.
I'm a university professor of philosophy. I see the difficulties that university students have accessing difficult texts. Lemov et al. have some very astute, actionable steps we can take to improve literacy. This is a smart, useful book.
As I read this book I kept a running list of deeper questions, along with follow up questions, that I could ask students. These questions will prompt my students to deeper levels of comprehension. This book is an absolute gold mine for questioning! If you know you need to improve yourself, so your students can improve their learning, then this is just the book you need to get now.
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This book is set up for teachers. Not common teachers, but teachers who are wanting to help their students reading.Read more