Reading for understanding: a guide to improving reading in middle and high school classrooms

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Jossey-Bass Publishers, Dec 20, 1999 - Education - 193 pages
2 Reviews
Published in Partnership with WestEd

"A breath of fresh air! After reminding us that any teacher who puts a book in front of a student is a reading teacher, the authors give us a teacher-tested reading course for middle and high school students. They avoid the baloney in the present reading debates by paying attention to actual students. What they propose is an apprenticeship in using a tool kit for problem solving in reading. The tool kit itself is a combination of cognitive and social dimensions embedded in subjects. And, lo and behold, they can point to actual results."
--Miles Myers, former executive director, National Council of Teachers of English

"As a teacher of inner-city youth, I had tried every idea in my bag of tricks to get my kids to read. It wasn't until I started working with the reading apprenticeship approach that I was able to see changes in my students--in their scores, their attitudes, and their comprehension. The reading apprenticeship approach has completely changed the way I look at my students. Now I share my reading process and invite them to share their problem solving in the classroom. In the beginning of the year I hear, 'I hate this.' Over time I hear, 'I don't get this part, but I think I get this, ' and finally, 'This is what I think this means.' More and more I hear, 'What are we reading next?'"
--Rita Jensen, teacher, John Muir Middle School, San Leandro, California

"Reading for Understanding should be in the hands of teachers, principals, superintendents, curriculum coordinators, school board members, state educational leaders, university professors, and teachers in training. Engaging, to the point, and grounded in research, this book shares current work in progress, possible stumbling blocks, ideas to overcome them, and specific strategies with detailed examples. Most middle and high school teachers have little or no 'teaching reading' training. It is not too late and this book is a great start."
--Judy Cunningham, principal, South Lake Middle School, Irvine, California

"These authors do not take sides between authenticity of text and task at one end of an instructional continuum and ambitious, explicit instruction at the other end. Instead they transform the apparent contradiction into a sort of resonant complementarity, showing that these two seemingly opposite notions actually support one another quite remarkably. In a policy world in which forced choices have become all too common, it is refreshing to see contradictions transformed into synergies."
--P. David Pearson, John A. Hannah Professor of Education, Michigan State University

Many middle and high school students have difficulty reading and understanding academic texts, which limits their ability to meet today's high learning standards. Reading for Understanding addresses this quiet but growing crisis. Written for content-area teachers in secondary schools, this guidebook describes a successful approach to helping students improve their literacy across all subject areas. The authors describe a program in which an entire freshman class in one urban high school increased its average reading scores by more than two years. Piloted in San Francisco, the groundbreaking Academic Literacy program proved that it was not too late for teachers and students to work together in boosting literacy, engagement, and achievement.

Easy to read and filled with vivid classroom lessons and exercises, Reading for Understanding shows teachers how they can create classroom "reading apprenticeships" to help students build reading comprehension skills and relate what they read to a larger knowledge base. It also discusses the strategies and support systems needed to implement and evaluate reading apprenticeship programs throughout a school. This unique guidebook is a solid companion for educators ready to face the challenge of building reading into their content-area teaching.

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Review: Reading for Understanding: A Guide to Improving Reading in Middle and High School Classrooms

User Review  - Cindy - Goodreads

This book convinced me how important reading is in all content ares. Read full review

Review: Reading for Understanding: A Guide to Improving Reading in Middle and High School Classrooms

User Review  - Jennifer Fenwick - Goodreads

Of all my grad school required books, this one has been the most helpful in teaching students to read. Read full review

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About the author (1999)

RUTH SCHOENBACH is project director for the Strategic Literacy Initiative at WestEd. For the past twenty-five years, she has worked as a classroom teacher, curriculum developer, and program innovator with a focus on literacy in diverse settings from preschool to adult education. CYNTHIA GREENLEAF is director of research for the Strategic Literacy Initiative at WestEd. For the past fifteen years, she has provided professional support to secondary teachers and studied the impact of classroom innovations on student learning and achievement. She has won several national awards for her research on classroom-based literacy learning. CHRISTINE CZIKO is co-director of the CLLAD Program at UC Berkeley's School of Education, where she works in teacher education. She taught English for twenty-five years in New York City and San Francisco public schools and worked as a teacher consultant for the New York City Writing Project. LORI HURWITZ is a teacher in the English Department at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in San Francisco and a teacher consultant with the Strategic Literacy Initiative. She teaches Academic Literacy and assists other schools in implementing Academic Literacy courses.

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