National Writing Project

You Gotta BE the Book: Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading with Adolescents

Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

List Price $29.95
NWP's Price $23.00

This award-winning book continues to resonate with teachers and inspire their teaching because it focuses on the joy of reading and how it can engage and even transform readers. In a time of next generation standards that emphasize higher-order strategies, text complexity, and the reading of nonfiction, You Gotta BE the Book continues to help teachers meet new challenges including those of increasing cultural diversity. At the core of Wilhelm's foundational text is an in-depth account of what highly motivated adolescent readers actually do when they read, and how to help struggling readers take on those same stances and strategies. His work offers a robust model teachers can use to prepare students for the demands of disciplinary understanding and for literacy in the real world. The Third Edition includes new commentaries and tips for using visual techniques, drama and action strategies, think-aloud protocols, and symbolic story representation/reading manipulatives.

Book Features:

  • A data-driven theory of literature and literary reading as engagement.
  • A case for undertaking teacher research with students.
  • An approach for using drama and visual art to support readers' comprehension.
  • Guidance for assisting students in the use of higher-order strategies of reading (and writing) as required by next generation standards like the Common Core.
  • Classroom interventions to help all students, especially reluctant ones, become successful readers.


"This important book remains on the must-read list for literacy teachers working with adolescent learners."

"Leading literacy educators are describing 'You Gotta BE the Book' as 'new theory,' 'a powerful alternative to traditional models of reading instruction,' 'the book teachers have been waiting for' and as 'the best in teacher research.'"
—University of Maine, College of Education

"I hope this book is read and considered by all the stakeholders who can make a difference in education by following Wilhelm's lead of improving instruction to enhance students' lives."
—Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy

"Based on years of research, this edition provides extensive activities on how to engage reluctant readers. This book is essential reading for any literacy teacher."
—Richard Beach, University of Minnesota

"Wilhelm's book is one of the essentials for a literacy educator's bookshelf, because it shows in detail how teachers can help readers really inhabit texts instead of remaining disconnected and distant from what they read. 'You Gotta BE the Book' offers a pathway beyond comprehension to real engagement."
—Randy Bomer, The University of Texas at Austin

About the Author: Jeffrey D. Wilhelm is an internationally known teacher, author, presenter, and National Writing Project director. He is distinguished professor of English Education at Boise State University.

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