National Writing Project

For Your Bookshelf: Considering the Teaching of Reading

Date: January 2010

Summary: Too many books, too little time! Writing project teachers review recent and classic publications in reading and adolescent literacy that you might consider for your bookshelf.


Book Review: Teaching Reading in Middle School

January 2011
Rosalyn Finlayson
Rosalyn Finlayson, a teacher-consultant with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Writing Project, recommends this book to teachers looking for strategies to implement reading workshops in their classroom to benefit students at all reading levels.

Book Review: The Write to Read: Response Journals That Increase Comprehension, by Lesley Roessing

August 2010
Art Peterson
Lesley Roessing, co-director of the Coastal Savannah Writing Project in Georgia, has provided readers with thoughtful, sequenced, and creative strategies to direct students toward deeper and more personal responses to literature.

Book Review: Fresh Takes on Teaching Literary Elements, by Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm

May 2010
Tanya Baker
Jeffrey Wilhelm, director of the Boise State Writing Project, and Michael Smith bring deep knowledge about teaching and learning directly to the study of literature, focusing on the demands of teaching and connecting them to the needs, passions, and strengths of adolescent students.

Book Review: Literacy and Learning: Reflections on Writing, Reading, and Society, by Deborah Brandt

March 2010
Elizabeth Radin Simons
Elizabeth Radin Simons reviews Deborah Brandt's collected essays on the dramatic changes in "literacy sponsorship" over the last century and the implications for teaching and learning literacy today.

Book Review: Essential Readings on Comprehension, edited by Diane Lapp and Douglas Fisher

January 2010
Cathy Blanchfield
Cathy Blanchfield, a teacher with the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project, finds this collection of articles focused on teaching reading comprehension in the content areas particularly useful to workshop facilitators working with content area teachers.

Book Review: The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, by Donalyn Miller

January 2010
Amanda Cornwell
Author Donalyn Miller, a teacher-consultant with the North Star of Texas Writing Project, reveals how she develops successful readers in her classroom by giving students the responsibility and freedom to choose the books they read.

Report Review: Time to Act: An Agenda for Advancing Adolescent Literacy for College and Career Success

January 2010
Carnegie Corporation of New York's Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy
Time to Act: An Agenda for Advancing Adolescent Literacy for College and Career Success sets out a national agenda for fully supporting young learners and using evidence-based case studies to boost adolescent literacy rates.

Book Review: Teaching Vocabulary: 50 Creative Strategies, Grades 6–12, by Gail E. Tompkins and Cathy Blanchfield

December 2009
Darcy Nickel
Teaching Vocabulary: 50 Creative Strategies, Grades 6–12 provides a potpourri of instructional strategies presented by many teachers and researchers.

Book Review: Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging Young Boys in Active Literacy, by Debby Zambo and William B. Brozo

December 2009
Martha Garner-Duhe
For teachers who are concerned about male underachievement in literacy, Bright Beginnings for Boys illuminates and analyzes learning differences between young boys and girls while proposing positive strategies for working with boys in the early years.

Book Review: Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It, by Kelly Gallagher

December 2009
Dawn Miller
This editorial from The Charleston Gazette supports Kelly Gallagher's book Readicide in which he describes ways schools practice the "systematic killing of the love of reading." Gallagher was co-director of the former South Basin Writing Project at California State University Long Beach.

Book Review: The Vocabulary Teacher's Book of Lists by Edward B. Frye

July 2009
Melanie Rawls Abrams
With its lists of words arranged by category, The Vocabulary Teacher's Book of Lists is surprising, bemusing, wildly informative, and practical.

Book Review: Culture, Literacy, and Learning: Taking Bloom in the Midst of the Whirlwind, by Carol D. Lee

January 2009
Stephen Gordon
Carol Lee reports on her teaching students to respond to literature in a Chicago public school. She concludes that teachers can succeed if they have knowledge about the language, culture, cognition, motivation, and social/emotional realities of urban students.

Book Review: Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature K–6, by Lynne R. Dorfman and Rose Cappelli

December 2008
Lisa Light
Mentor Texts, written by two writing project teacher-consultants, offers explicit ideas, clear models, and inspiration for teaching writing to students in kindergarten through middle school.

Book Review: Literature Is Back! Using the Best Books for Teaching Readers and Writers Across Genres, By Carol J. Fuhler and Maria P. Walthe

December 2008
Lisa Light
Lisa Light, co-director at Jacksonville State University Writing Project, describes Literature Is Back! as a lifeline to primary/intermediate and middle school teachers, with lists of books and practical research-supported ideas for using children's literature to teach key literacy skills and strategies.

Book Review: Three Books Frame Content Area Literacy in Discussion of 21st Century Literacies

October 2008
Ken Martin
Three books on content area literacy instruction aim to help teachers think about the literacy demands of all content areas while framing their arguments in a larger discussion of 21st century literacies.

Book Review: Bridging the Literacy Achievement Gap Grades 4-12, edited by Dorothy S. Strickland and Donna E. Alvermann

February 2007
Harriet Williams
Bridging the Literacy Achievement Gap Grades 4–12 surveys the issues and the research on the achievement gap between white students and students of color, and reports on a number of ways that have been developed to address it. 

Book Review: Subjects Matter: Every Teacher's Guide to Content-Area Reading, by Harvey Daniels and Steven Zemelman

February 2007
Charlie Troughton
Subjects Matter shows content-area teachers how to motivate students to read by creating supportive environments, calling on students' natural interests, and using authentic, real-world texts. 

Book Review: Lifers: Learning from At-Risk Adolescent Readers, by Pamela Mueller

The Quarterly, 2005
Emily Noble
This book describes the experience—in their own words—of several at-risk students who have been struggling with reading for years. Noble describes Mueller's model for a reading workshop for ninth grade students.

Book Review: "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys": Literacy in the Lives of Young Men, by Michael Smith and Jeffrey Wilhelm

The Quarterly, 2004
Bob Sizoo
"Reading Don't Fix No Chevys" examines how to engage boys in school literacy.

Book Review: Action Strategies for Deepening Comprehension, by Jeffrey Wilhelm

The Quarterly, 2004
Pamela Fong
Action Strategies for Deepening Comprehension challenges teachers to consider untraditional ways to support student comprehension and engage otherwise unmotivated students into becoming independent learners.

Book Review: School's Out! by Glynda Hull and Katherine Schultz

The Quarterly, 2003
Monie Hayes
Each of this book's chapters answers, or seeks to answer, Paulo Friere's call for transformative literacy—the idea of reading and writing to become more fully human and to people a culture that is more humane. 

Book Review: The Reading/Writing Connection, by Carol Booth Olson

The Quarterly, 2003
Harry Noden
The Reading/Writing Connection describes important theoretical concepts and then takes you beyond the theory and into the classroom, sharing a wealth of tested practices that excellent teachers have found successful. 

Book Review: Strategic Reading, by Jeff Wilhelm, Tanya Baker, and Julie Dube

The Quarterly, 2002
Marean Jordan
The authors describe how they applied the theoretical orientation of Lev Vygotsky and George Hillocks to their teaching of secondary English and illustrate how their students have developed into more engaged and independent readers, writers, thinkers, and citizens as a result.

Book Review: Reading Reminders, by Jim Burke

The Quarterly, 2001
Jane Braunger
Jim Burke has collected 100 reminders of tips, techniques, and tools to help teachers successfully teach reading in their high school classrooms. 

Book Review: Teaching Reading in the Middle School, by Laura Robb

The Quarterly, 2001
Suzanne Cherry
Teaching Reading in Middle School is an easy-to-read, solidly grounded book, and—most importantly—it is practical for classroom teachers.

Book Review: Reading for Understanding, by Schoenbach, Greenleaf, Cziko, and Hurwitz

The Quarterly, 2000
Bob Fecho
Reading for Understanding is a straightforward, yet nuanced account of what the authors call a reading apprenticeship approach. 

Book Review: Mosaic of Thought, by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman

The Quarterly, 2000
Sheryl Lain
The authors show us reading workshops with real students where even the littlest ones are taught how to read for the love of it. 

Book Review: If Not Now: Developmental Readers in the College Classroom, by Jeanne Henry

The Quarterly, 1996
Barbara Bass
The author, a successful teacher of developmental readers, takes you through her process step by step in a humorous, natural style. 

Book Review: The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions, by Jeff McQuillan

The Quarterly, 1998
Jan Isenhour
In this survey of 275 literacy studies, the author explodes myths and examines such literacy questions as What does it take to learn how to read? and What is the relationship between sound and reading? 

Book Review: The Write to Read: Response Journals That Increase Comprehension

Lesley Roessing
Lesley Roessing, co-director of the Coastal Savannah Writing Project in Georgia, has provided readers with thoughtful, sequenced, and creative strategies to direct students toward deeper and more personal responses to literature.

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