Breakthrough in Beginning Reading and Writing: The Evidence-Based Approach to Pinpointing Students' Needs and Delivering Targeted Instruction

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Drawing on major new insights in brain research, Gentry shows how reading and writing develop in five phases—from operations with no letter knowledge to understanding of phonics chunks—that provide the blueprint for instructional approaches. The book enables teachers to identify a child's phase of development, set reasonable expectations for growth, and select the methods that will move each child forward. For use with Grades PreK-2.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545007252
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Series: Theory and Practice Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Gentry earned his elementary education degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia. For sixteen years he taught reading education at Western Carolina University, where he directed the Reading Center. Well known for his research and writing in literacy education, Gentry is currently an independent researcher, author, and consultant. His published books include Breaking the Code: The New Science of Beginning Reading and Writing and The Science of Spelling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    Great for Early Education Teachers and Parents

    As a teacher, I found this book to be extremely helpful. Gentry walks the reader through the five stages explaining at each stage what the child can do. After that, he explains and clarifies those activities and discusses where the child will be heading. He gives ideas to help the child reach the next stage and increase the skills they already have. I did not feel as though I was reading a textbook. It is very reader friendly and is incredibly informative. Using the book, I was able to locate stages and ideas for a few specific kids.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    Specifics on Encouraging Young Writers toward the Next Step

    Gentry is known for his research and work with spelling and young children. In this book, he details Phases 0-4 in young children's writing by describing key attributes at each phase (scribbling? some phonemic awareness? full phonemic awareness?), goals for writers of that phase, and teaching points to move that writer forward. In my experience, some of my students may not have fit perfectly into one phase, but may show attributes of several of the phases. I still find this work useful for beginning teachers who are struggling with teaching or assessing early writing, or more experienced teachers who want to refine their teaching or get a different perspective. Gentry also discusses Reading Recovery and Phonics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    Excellent For Educators

    J.Richard Gentry has written a book that is helpful to educators regarding beginning reading & writing. In the beginning of the book, he introduces the reader to the phase theory and the implications of it for beginning readers. This was very helpful as a 1st grade teacher. Part I of this book discusses each phase of operation for reading and writing. I really enjoyed the 'key operations', 'critical aspect', and 'expectations' from each chapter. These subheadings guided my thinking while reading and gave me insight into what each learner would be doing at that particular phase. There are many charts throughout the book which help teachers understand some concepts Gentry is writing about. My only problem with Part I of the book is that the author never gives an approximate age range for students in the Phases. I think this would be helpful to know. Part II is more ideas from Gentry concerning Reading Recovery, the brain, sound features with spelling, and his concerns with other researchers' ideas. I found this book to be interesting but as a 1st grade teacher, none of the information was new. I enjoyed 'brushing up' on my early education literacy reading and was entertained by Gentry's writing style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008


    In Breakthrough in Beginning Reading and Writing, J. Richard Gentry describes Phase Theory which is a system that details the precise, step-by-step sequence in which young learners begin to read and write. This book connects theory and practice. Gentry provides a chapter that clearly describes each of the five phases. His examples and descriptions make it easy to pinpoint exactly what phase individual children are working at. Gentry also lays out expectations for readers and writers in each stage. This information gives teachers ideas as to what kinds of instruction and practice are needed to push students forward. The ultimate goal is to provide instruction that helps our young readers and writers break the code of reading and writing. Gentry culminates the book by exploring various research in such topics as brain research, phonemic awareness, invented spelling, and vocabulary and how these topics influence Gentry¿s understanding of Phase theory. This is a great book because it is easy to read and understand. I recommend this book to teachers who are looking to better understand how young students make sequential developments as readers and writers and how to provide instruction to meet students¿ needs at the various stages in the process of breaking the reading and writing code.

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