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What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0325030739
ISBN-10: 0325030731
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dorothy Barnhouse is the coauthor of the Heinemann title What Readers Really Do. She has built her professional life around her love of reading and writing. A freelance editor and writer for many years, she began teaching through a fellowship at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She is currently a literacy consultant working in elementary, middle, and high schools in New York City and across the country. Dorothy also teaches graduate and undergraduate writing workshops and has received several grants for her writing, including one from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Email planningservices@heinemann.com if you would like to contact Dorothy Barnhouse directly about professional development support.

Vicki Vinton is a literacy consultant and writer who has worked in the New York City public schools and in districts around the country for over fifteen years. With her fellow literacy consultant Dorothy Barnhouse, she is the author of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making (Heinemann, 2012), which has been called "the best book...about reading in the age of the Common Core" (Kim Yaris of Literacy Builders) and a book that helps "think through the Common Core talk about close reading and text complexity" (Franki Sibberson of the National Council of Teachers of English). Her other books include The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language (Heinemann, 2005), co-authored with Mary Ehrenworth of the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project, and the novel The Jungle Law (MacAdam/Cage, 2005). She is also the voice behind literacy blog To Make a Prairie (http://tomakeaprairie.wordpress.com), where she regularly shares resources, new ideas and work she has done in schools around the country.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 8
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325030731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325030739
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I never felt comfortable with the traditional ways of teaching annotation and monitoring comprehension (e.g., questions, connections, etc.). They seemed too unlike what good readers *actually* do when reading and too cumbersome. They keep students outside of the text.

This book, on the other hand, presents a strategy that encourages students to really dig into a text, to struggle with meaning making, and to monitor their comprehension in a way that feels much more authentic and seamless. There are fewer vocabulary words to teach--another thing that can get between the student and the act of meaning making. All you have to remember is "What do I know?" "What do I wonder?" "What patterns am I noticing?"

I used the strategies with my 9th graders this year, and I love the results I have gotten.

Recently I found Vicky Vinton's blog, which has even more great ideas!
[...]
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This book will give you a great deal to think about concerning the process of reading. It is a book all teachers should read to understand what it means to truly read. It will help you explain the process to parents so that they can better support their child's reading.
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Our study group just finished our conversation around this text. It changed our thinking about how to teach student inferring. We will use "I Know - I Wonder" to help students to form hunches and interpret texts. We loved how the book highlighted the three levels of knowing texts - comprehending, understanding (comes from shared interpretations through talk) and evaluation. This book is great to help those who teach literacy go beyond the limits of comprehension strategies towards an instructional knowledge base that moves students to a deeper understanding of text.
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Format: Paperback
Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton have written a generous, practical book, fascinating not only for educators but for all who are interested in the ways that readers make meaning. What Readers Really Do presents a holistic, text-centered approach to the teaching of reading, focusing on the ways in which we create connections and the ways that writers lead us to these understandings. I found it to be a truly heartening book. At a time when so much of the way we teach is compartmentalized, What Readers Really Do looks instead at the mysteries inherent in good writing, the importance of experiencing and learning from those moments of "not knowing", and the ways we can help students to look deeply to gain meaning from the books they read.
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I am a teacher and avid reader of professional books. I bought this book because I knew Vicki was a coauthor of The Power of Grammar,which changed the way I view grammar instruction. Part of what makes this book powerful is the simplicity of the approach. Vicki and Dorothy emphasize that the goal is to teach the PROCESS of meaning making, not a particular meaning. We need to scaffold students' learning, not make them dependent on our questions.

I read over 25 professional books a year and this is my favorite book of 2012! I rarely write reviews, but this book has impacted me deeply and I wanted to encourage other teachers to purchase it. I also highly recommend Vicki's blog [...] where she shares her latest thinking around reading.
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