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At a time when so many pivotal education issues are closely tied to literacy and education policy, such as No Child Left Behind legislation, Tom Gunning provides critical insight into the key elements needed to close the literacy gap in America’s schools, from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
Closing the Literacy Gap addresses the demands of the No Child Left Behind legislation and provides a wide range of recommendations and a great number of practical suggestions for closing the literacy gap.
Read Why Reviewers Can’t Put This Book Down.
“Tom Gunning provides support for his ideas by drawing from real, authentic literature! He does a fine job of including everything imaginable on the topic of Closing the Gap. . .he truly understands how students learn to read and write!”
—Diane Lapp, San Diego State University
“I would definitely use this book in my work in school districts because it really ties everything we are dealing with together in a concrete way. Everything in this book is important. . . . Gunning allows the reader to see the interconnectedness of all the subject matter contained in the book. He understands what students need and just cuts to it.”
—Maureen F. Ruby, Southern Connecticut State University
Thomas G. Gunning has taught courses in methods of teaching reading and writing for 20 years and was the director of the Reading Clinic at Southern Connecticut State University. Before that, as a secondary English teacher, secondary reading specialist, and an elementary school reading consultant, he worked extensively with achieving and struggling readers. Dr. Gunning has conducted research on phonics, and has created his own word analysis program, which is known as Word Building. He has also created a number of informal assessment devices and conducted research on reading interests. Dr. Gunning devised a collaborative comprehension approach known as Reading Seminar, and has also written several published comprehension programs.
He is the author of numerous textbooks, including Building Literacy in the Content Areas, Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties, Creating Literacy Instruction for All Students, Best Books for Beginning Readers, Best Books for Building Literacy for Elementary School Children, Building Words: A Resource Manual for Teaching Word Analysis and Spelling Skills and Strategies, and Phonological Awareness and Primary Phonics. All are Allyn & Bacon books.
1. The Literacy Gap.
Dimensions of the Gap.
Causes of the Gap.
Role of NCLB in Closing the Gap.
Composition of Your Class or School.
2. Programs that Close the Gap.
Schools that Beat the Odds.
Characteristics of Schools that Beat the Odds.
The Teacher is Key.
Complexity of School Improvement.
Creating a Program that Beats the Odds.
Creating a Vision.
Setting Goals and Objectives.
Conducting a Needs Assessment.
3. The Role of Assessment in Closing the Gap.
Making the Match.
Obtaining Placement Information.
Continuous Progress Monitoring.
Assessing the Assessment Component of Your Program.
4. Building Language.
Developing Language in the Classroom.
The Words Students Need to Know.
Assessing Students’ Word Knowledge.
Embedded and Systematic Programs.
Using Read Alouds to Build Vocabulary.
Fostering an Interest in Words.
Using Imaging to Learn Words.
Setting Goals for Vocabulary Learning.
FAME: An Intensive Vocabulary Development Program
Helping English Language Learners.
Assessing the Language Development Component of Your Program.
5. Building Higher-level Thinking Skills and Comprehension.
Teaching Specific Thinking Skills.
Focus on Comprehension.
Boosting Low Achieving Readers’ Thinking and Comprehension.
Putting It All Together: Using a GO! Chart.
Preparing Students for High-Stakes Comprehension Tests.
Assessing the Thinking Skills Component of Your Program.
6. Building Background through Informational Reading and Writing.
Importance of Informational Text.
Themes: Reading in Depth.
Using the Content Areas to Close the Gap.
Improving Access to Texts.
Using Writing to Close the Gap.
Assessing the Reading and Writing Informational Text Component of Your Program.
7. Using Extensive Reading to Close the Gap.
Beefing Up Content: Building Background.
Extra Reading Is Needed to Close the Gap.
Setting Aside Time for Self-Selected Reading.
Fountas and Pinnell’s Independent Reading: A Structured Version of Voluntary Reading.
The 100 Book Challenge.
Motivating Voluntary Reading.
The Role of the Media Specialist.
Impact of Book Discussion Groups.
Assessing the Extensive Reading Component of Your Program.
8. Phonological Awareness and Word Analysis.
How Words Are Read.
Systematic, Functional, Contextual Phonics.
Syllabic Analysis as Part of Phonics Instruction.
Helping Students Who Have Difficulty with Multisyllabic Words.
The Importance of Teaching Needed Skills.
Helpful Activities for Struggling Readers.
Teaching Decoding Strategies.
Balancing Instruction and Application.
High Frequency Words.
Providing Guidance in Word Learning Skills.
Assessing the Word Analysis Component of Your Program.
9. The Effectiveness of Affective Factors.
The Importance of Caring.
Using Motivation to Overcome the Gap.
Using Engagement to Close the Gap.
Assessing the Affective Component of Your Program.
10. Using Added Resources to Close the Gap.
Providing Extra Time.
Alternatives to Summer School.
Role of Retention.
Some Alternatives to Retention.
Getting an Early Start: Preschool and Kindergarten.
Assessing the Use of Extra Resources.
11. Organizing to Close the Gap.
Grade Level Meetings.
Organizational Factors that Help Close the Gap.
The Role of Paraeducators.
The Role of Test Preparation.
Using Technology to Close the Gap.
The Role of Special Education.
Using Effective Reading Programs to Close the Gap.
Intervention/ Prevention Programs.
Helping Students Who Fail to Make Progress Despite Intervention.
Assessing the Organizational Components of Your Program.
12. Creating a Literacy Improvement Plan.
Assembling the Elements of a Literacy Improvement Program.
Implementing the Literacy Improvement Program.
Assessing the Professional Development Component of Your Program.
Appendix A: Essential Objectives.