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Engaging Readers

Supporting All Students in Knowledge-Driven Reading, Grades 4-8

Dana A. Robertson; Evelyn Ford-Connors and Susan Dougherty

An important goal of teachers is to get all students, especially those in the upper elementary and middle grades who struggle with academic work, engaged in reading. This book examines current research on instructional principles and actions related to engaged reading. It shows how teachers can translate this research into evidence-based actions that promote productive instructional contexts and focus students’ purposeful use of literacy in acquiring knowledge. The authors integrate descriptions of principles and actions with concrete examples of classroom instruction and thematic teaching across disciplinary contexts and demonstrate how teachers might mediate students’ reading of complex texts. The book provides readers with a vivid picture of the complexities of teaching reading in the upper elementary and middle grades. In particular, the book blends individual principles and practices into a holistic approach to creating productive and engaged learning environments for all upper elementary and middle grade learners. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 204Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4758-2329-5 • Hardback • March 2017 • $60.00 • (£39.95)
978-1-4758-2330-1 • Paperback • March 2017 • $30.00 • (£19.95)
978-1-4758-2331-8 • eBook • March 2017 • $28.00 • (£18.95)
Dana A. Robertson, EdD, is Executive Director of the Literacy Research Center and Clinic at the University of Wyoming. He was an upper elementary teacher, a literacy specialist and coach, and he has worked in clinical contexts, K-12.

Evelyn Ford-Connors, EdD, is a senior lecturer in the Literacy and Language program at Boston University’s School of Education and the Associate Director of the Donald D. Durrell Reading and Writing Clinic. Her current work includes teacher coaching and collaboration to study and refine instructional practices that promote students’ literacy learning.

Susan M. Dougherty, EdD is an assistant professor of literacy education at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. She works with future teachers and literacy specialists, with a particular interest in preparing them to support children who find literacy learning difficult. Her most recent research focuses on the intersections between literacy learning and learning in the sciences.
List of Figures
Part I: Understanding Teaching Actions
1. Introduction
2. Why Access the Complex Text Matters
3. Classroom Talk
4. Leading with Motivation and Engagement
5. Providing Explicit Instruction
6. Establishing Instructional Coherence
7. Creating Optimal Learning Contexts
8. The Importance of Cognitive Challenge
Part II: Looking at Teaching in Action
9. Mediating Word Reading and Fluency Difficulties
10. Mediating Vocabulary Learning
11. Mediating Comprehension through Discussion, Strategies, and Writing
12. Putting It All Together
Final Thoughts
Lots of authors insist that students need scaffolds to read complex text, but Robertson, Ford-Connors and Dougherty go much further showing us how to identify specific scaffolds and then how to provide instruction that supports students toward independence as learners. Their detailed classroom scenarios made me feel like I was having team teaching experiences. This text offers instructional ideas that promote learning for new and novice teachers and more experienced teachers alike, and it should be a must read in teacher education classes and for in-service teachers.
Diane Lapp, EdD, Distinguished Professor of Education, San Diego State University and Director of Learning, Health Sciences Middle School, San Diego, CA

This book’s envisioning of engaged reading is uniquely supported by the authors’ expertise in making their points through a strong command of the literature on comprehending complex texts. A page-turner kind of instructional resource that middle grades teachers will want to keep forever!
Donna E. Alvermann, PhD, The University of Georgia

As a Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, I am impressed by how the authors wrote about issues in 4-8 literacy by speaking directly to who impacts instruction in these classrooms most: the teachers. This book appropriately addresses the key components of literacy instruction at these levels, focusing on comprehension, vocabulary, and writing-but not without supporting a need for motivation and engagement. Another important feature of the book is that is discusses potential issues that teachers commonly face when adolescent readers are not "on grade level." I can't wait to use this with teachers in my school district!
Kenneth Kunz, PhD, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Wall Township Public Schools and President, NJ Literacy Association

Engaging Readers: Supporting All Students in Knowledge-Driven Reading, Grades 4-8 not only provides the thoughtful context teachers need to support why engaging all learners in content reading as a vital part of their instructional philosophy; this text supplies concrete instructional steps an educator can utilize to make that engagement happen!
Sheila J. Cooper, K-12 ELA Supervisor, Hillsborough Township Public Schools, Board Member, New Jersey Literacy Association