Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?: Content Comprehension, Grades 6-12 / Edition 1

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“Do I really have to teach reading?” This is the question many teachers of adolescents are asking, wondering how they can possibly add a new element to an already overloaded curriculum. And most are finding that the answer is “yes.” If they want their students to learn complex new concepts in different disciplines, they often have to help their students become better readers.

Building on the experiences gained in her own language arts classroom as well as those of colleagues in different disciplines, Cris Tovani, author of I Read It, but I Don't Get It, takes on the challenge of helping students apply reading comprehension strategies in any subject. In Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?, Cris shows how teachers can expand on their content expertise to provide instruction students need to understand specific technical and narrative texts. The book includes:

  • examples of how teachers can model their reading process for students;
  • ideas for supplementing and enhancing the use of required textbooks;
  • detailed descriptions of specific strategies taught in context;
  • stories from different high school classrooms to show how reading instruction varies according to content;
  • samples of student work, including both struggling readers and college-bound seniors;
  • a variety of “comprehension constructors”: guides designed to help students recognize and capture their thinking in writing while reading;
  • guidance on assessing students;
  • tips for balancing content and reading instruction.
Cris's humor, honesty, and willingness to share her own struggles as a teacher make this a unique take on content reading instruction that will be valuable to reading teachers as well as content specialists.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"All in all, Tovani has written a nicely approachable book that practices what she preaches. Do I Really Have to Teach Reading isn't just about teaching students, but about teaching ourselves." - Education Review

"A wonderful resource." - School Library Journal

Tovani, author of I Read It, But I Don't Get It (Stenhouse 2000), is ready with an answer to her own question in this book. It is yes—if secondary teachers want youth to make meaningful connections to their content, they all need to incorporate reading instruction within their curriculum. In a conversational tone full of anecdotes from her own experience as a high school reading specialist, Tovani discusses the need to really examine what and why educators are asking students to read. She emphasizes the importance of explicit instruction and mental modeling of how good readers construct meaning from a text—and then shares examples of how these strategies can differ depending on the task at hand. By incorporating a few of these strategies, students learn to "hold" their thinking while reading and make more connections to it. Although there is an extensive appendix of forms to use, this book is not a quick fix, black outline master book of activities. Teachers looking for easy answers will be disappointed and lost by the author's sometimes wandering discussion of her own philosophy and reading instruction practices. Instead Tovani offers something more meaningful and useful by delving deeply into the reading process and the psyches of adolescents. This book deserves a place on all secondary educators' bookshelves and will have those who read it examining their own reading strategies by the end. Not only will their reading improve, but their students' reading will as well. Professional 2004, Stenhouse, 138p.; Photos. Charts. Biblio. Appendix., pb. Ages adult professional.
—Rebecca Hogue Wojahn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571103765
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 151,533
  • Product dimensions: 6.98 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.24 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction : "I'm the stupid lady from Denver..." 1
2 The "so what?" of reading comprehension 11
3 Parallel experiences : tapping the mother lode 23
4 Real rigor : connecting students with accessible text 37
5 "Why am I reading this?" 51
6 Holding thinking to remember and reuse 67
7 Group work that grows understanding 89
8 "What do I do with all these sticky notes?" : assessment that drives instruction 101
9 "Did I miss anything? Did I miss everything?" : last thoughts 117
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 22, 2009

    Not just for reading teachers...

    Some comments: Every subject (math included!) and often each textbook has a specific way to read it best for understanding. Tovani helps you prepare your students to best read the material for YOUR classroom (and of course, some skills do carry over to other classrooms) so you are much less likely to get a "I didn't understand it" response from your students. Tovani's other book, "I Read It, But I Don't Get It" is also helpful for the non-reading teacher. I'd highly recommend them for any teacher, especially if you don't think teaching reading is your job (like I did).

    This book would also be helpful for parents with students who are struggling with a subject (maybe get an extra copy for the teacher?) or reading in general.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2006

    Great for improving your teaching of reading!

    If you want to help your students read and understand better in any subject, not just in english get this book. It's a requirement for my reading class in college and I absolutley loved it. I think that every teacher who is trying to help their students acheive higher reading scores should buy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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