Reading Material for the Teacher!

When Kids Can't ReadI started reading a book over the weekend and I have to share it!  It’s called When Kids Can’t Read by Kylene Beers (awesome last name, huh?)  You can find it on amazon here:

I’ve only gotten through chapter 4, but I think it will make a huge difference in my teaching for next year.

As I’ve written about before, my district has directed me to use Reading Street for my reading/writing/grammar instruction.  It’s not a terrible textbook, but since the idea is that students use this text from kindergarten through 6th grade, the 6th grade text seems to gloss over some things.  My students last year had used it in 4th and 5th grades.  Not enough time to have gotten all of the skills from the years prior to that.

What I really like about this book is that it is written by a teacher who has been there, done that.  She’s not standing in her ivory tower telling all teachers how rotten and lazy they are.  She’s not coming in from the outside saying she has all the answers.  Instead, she uses her prior experience and her copious research and study to guide the reader through how best to help our students.

I’ve noticed, having interns, that it’s tough to explain why you do what you do.  I have gotten better over the years, but this book gives me much more to pull from.  I can see using the information from this book to better interpret the reams of data that we generate on each student.  By being able to give concrete diagnoses for the parents (not just, your child doesn’t understand what he or she is reading), and then being able to give specific, parent-friendly suggestions, I look forward to helping my students and their parents.

As I read, I keep picturing how I can make this work, using the scripted curriculum that I have been given.  I think it will go a long way toward making the weekly skill and strategy more concrete and visible for my students.

As you can see, I’m very excited about starting the school year, using what I’ve learned from this book.  What books are you reading this summer?  What do you hope to accomplish in the fall?

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