ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Strong Readers All: What Would It Take ... ?

Post written by Naomi Thiers, associate editor, Educational Leadership

EL Summer 2012

What would it take to make all the children we serve strong readers?

It's a bold question to ponder as you prepare for the coming school year. Sadly, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, U.S. students are not all strong readers. But authors in ASCD's Educational Leadership (EL) summer issue, "Strong Readers All," share stories of how they successfully helped all learners improve their reading skills—by using nontraditional approaches at every grade level.

Continuing the theme of the March 2012 issue, "Reading: The Core Skill," these articles describe research, strategies, and revamped school structures. The first two articles show how teachers can work good old vocabulary instruction much harder—while making it more fun—to help students make headway in understanding complex text. John Collins details how by regularly assigning students to write "10 percent summaries" of texts, we can improve students' comprehension and persuasive writing skills, as the Common Core State Standards will require.

Other articles profile schoolwide strategies that made a serious difference during the earliest reading years. See Carol and Robert Canady's piece about a school that added an extra hour of targeted reading instruction for all kindergarteners by forming "early literacy teams." At the opposite end of schooling, Kimberly B. Pyne brought at-risk high schoolers together with college students for "book jams" that got reluctant teens reading.

EL also offers two classic articles from past issues—from two trusted voices in reading instruction. Researcher Richard L. Allington maintains that with what we now know about the foundations of literacy, teachers can spot which kids are at risk for reading trouble—and intervene—from the first week of kindergarten. And middle school teacher Cris Tovani shows how identifying a clear purpose for a school reading assignment sets readers up for success.

Happy summer and happy reading! We'll see you in print when our next issue year kicks off in late August.

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