Looking for a good book to spark your passion for reading instruction for the new school year? I recommend Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction by Doug Lemov, Colleen Driggs and Erica Woolway.
You may recognize Doug Lemov as the author of Teach Like a Champion, but the part of the cover that you don’t want to miss is that this is A Practical Guide. Not only have the authors identified the critical concepts and skills for rigorous literacy instruction, they have done so in a way that makes it easy for teachers to implement the strategies in their classrooms. If it’s not enough that the authors have defined the skills students (and teachers) need to master, provided specific examples using commonly taught texts, and included an appendix of useful tools, they have also included a DVD, so teachers can see the strategies and activities in action. Plus, the strategies have been field-tested in Uncommon Schools, urban charter schools with great track records of student success.
Reading Reconsidered is divided into two sections: The Core of the Core and The Fundamentals. The Core of the Core identifies those concepts that the authors feel are gaps in current literacy instruction but necessary for success in college and in life. According to Lemov, Driggs and Woolway, this success can be achieved if students “read harder texts, close read texts rigorously and intentionally, read more nonfiction more effectively, and write more effectively in direct response to text.” Therefore, the first four chapters address text selection, close reading, reading nonfiction, using and building background knowledge, and writing for reading. Each chapter is made up of five modules identifying how to build reading skills in each area. The module approach makes this book a perfect fit for PLC study.
Part two focuses on critical elements of literacy instruction and on creating independent readers: The Fundamentals. In this section, the authors discuss approaches to reading, the challenge of supporting fluency and decoding, vocabulary instruction, reading systems, and ideas for creating students who possess intellectual autonomy. Lemov, Driggs, and Woolway identify the obstacles to comprehension in order to understand how to provide instruction that overcomes those obstacles. Reading Reconsidered provides comprehensive coverage of the topics necessary for building the skills of independent readers at all ages.
Tired of hearing about declining reading scores across the country? Together we can do something about it. Reading Reconsidered can help teachers develop students who read with “rigor, independence, precision, and insight.” And better readers become better thinkers. Pick up a copy and give it a try. Better yet, get your colleagues to read it with you.