Understanding Texts and Readers

Understanding Texts and Readers3Understanding Texts & Readers makes comprehension make sense. In it, Jennifer Serravallo narrows the distance between assessment and instruction by mapping the eight comprehension goals she presented in The Reading Strategies Book to the characteristics of texts leveled J–W and the behaviors and responses we expect from readers at those levels.

Jen simplifies text complexity and clarifies comprehension instruction. She begins by untangling the many threads of comprehension: Levels, engagement, stamina, the relevance of texts, and much more. Then level-by-level, for fiction and for nonfiction, she:

  • points out with precision the traits that determine a text’s level
  • recommends specific behaviors to expect from a reader at that level
  • provides samples of student responses to texts at that level
  • shares progressions across levels to support instructional planning.

Even if you haven’t read the book your reader is responding to, you’ll have the background necessary to make great teaching decisions for all your readers. “Understanding subtle shifts and increases in demands from level to level,” writes Jennifer Serravallo, “can guide what a teacher asks a student, what the teacher expects of the student, and what the teacher, therefore, teaches the student.”

Want to become a master of matching kids to books? Looking to take the difficult out of differentiation? Or do you want to dramatically increase the power and responsiveness of Jen’s Reading Strategies Book? Understanding Texts & Readers shows you how to move forward when students need to make progress.

               The Writing Strategies Book 

The Reading Strategies Book has helped hundreds of thousands of teachers and their readers. Now The Writing Strategies Book does the same for writing. Organized around 10 crucial instructional goals, the book is filled with 300 strategies to support students as they compose with pictures, engage with writing, generate their own ideas, focus, organize, elaborate, consider word choice, spell, consider grammar and punctuation choices, and collaborate with other writers in partnerships and writing clubs. Whether you teach with writing workshop, 6+1 Traits, or by any other means, you’ll discover a wealth of ideas for strategies to share with students for whole-group, small-group, or one-to-one instruction.

The Reading Strategies BookThe Reading Strategies Book

Strategies make the often invisible work of reading actionable and visible. In The Reading Strategies Book, I collected 300 strategies to share with readers in support of thirteen goals-everything from fluency to literary analysis. Each strategy is cross-linked to skills, genres, and Fountas & Pinnell reading levels to give you just-right teaching, just in time. With this book you’ll:

  • develop goals for every reader
  • give students step-by-step strategies for skilled reading
  • guide readers with prompts aligned to the strategies
  • adjust instruction to meet individual needs with Jen’s Teaching Tips
  • craft demonstrations and explanations with her Lesson Language
  • learn more with Hat Tips to the work of influential teacher-authors.

Whether you use readers workshop, Daily 5/CAFE, guided reading, balanced reading, a core reading program, whole-class novels, or any other approach, The Reading Strategies Book will complement and extend your teaching. Rely on it to plan and implement goal-directed, differentiated instruction for individuals, small groups, and whole classes.

The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook

Two versions: One for K-2 and one for 3-6. The aim of The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook is to help you collect data that is helpful, analyze the data correctly, and make plans based on that data. National and state standards set learning goals, and it’s up to us to help each student find their path to meeting them. That’s why I open up my thinking on reading and writing assessment and instruction in this workshop-in-a-book.

My four-step protocol leads you toward goal-directed instruction:

  • collect the data that will be the most useful to you
  • analyze the data to understand deeply what kids know and can do
  • synthesize data from multiple assessments to create learning goals
  • develop instructional plans and follow-ups to monitor progress.

Included with this book are downloadable packets of student work from actual fourth graders representing two types of learners who tend to puzzle us. I model my thinking with one, and you can try the process along with me with a second.

Teaching Reading In Small Groups

My goal in this book is to help teachers meet instructional challenges effectively and efficiently.

In this book, I show how small groups help you uncover hidden time in your teaching for meeting individual students’ needs. You’ll work more closely with more children each day with my how-tos on:

  • using formative assessment to create groups of readers with common needs
  • differentiating for individuals, even when they’re in a group
  • enhancing your Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction.

You’ll read about how I work to hold true to the strength of individual conference while working with multiple students—even if they aren’t reading the same book. For comprehension, fluency, engagement, print work strategies, and comprehension, I share ideas for assessment and flexible grouping structures. You’ll help readers:

  • get into texts and get more out of them
  • learn vital strategies that help them read more challenging texts
  • talk about books with rigor and vigor.

When we supplement individual conferences with small-group conferences, we work more efficiently and can deal well with higher benchmarks, larger class sizes, and the increasing demands placed on readers and teachers.

Conferring with Readers

A great reading conference only takes five minutes, but its impact can last a lifetime. That’s because conferences are the critical, one-to-one teaching that forms the backbone of reading instruction. In Conferring with Readers Gravity Goldberg and I show you how to confer well and we demonstrate why a few moments with students every week can put them on the path to becoming better, more independent readers.

Conferring with Readers is a comprehensive guide that shows you how to determine what readers have learned and what they need to practice, then provides suggestions for targeting instruction to meet students’ needs. It provides explicit teaching methods for use in effective conferences. You’ll learn how to:

  • research a student’s use of skills through questions and observations
  • compliment to support and build upon successes
  • follow up on prior instruction for accountability and depth of understanding
  • explain a reading strategy by providing an explicit purpose and context
  • model the strategy to make the invisible brainwork of reading more visible
  • guide a reader in practicing the strategy
  • link the strategy to independent reading.

Conferring with Readers presents repeatable frameworks for conferences that focus on six specific purposes of reading instruction:

  • matching students to just-right books
  • reinforcing students’ strengths
  • supporting students during whole-class studies
  • helping students move from one reading level to the next
  • holding students accountable for previous learning
  • deepening students’ conversations about books in order to deepen their thinking.