Reading Better, Reading Smarter: Designing Literature Lessons for Adolescents


"Wow, wow, and wow! At the time when we most need it, with the advent of the Common Core State Standards and in the midst of a documented crisis in adolescent literacy, here come Deborah Appleman and Michael Graves with a very smart, very practical, very flexible model for professional, responsive, critical teaching of reading called the SRE (Scaffolded Reading Experience)."

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"Wow, wow, and wow! At the time when we most need it, with the advent of the Common Core State Standards and in the midst of a documented crisis in adolescent literacy, here come Deborah Appleman and Michael Graves with a very smart, very practical, very flexible model for professional, responsive, critical teaching of reading called the SRE (Scaffolded Reading Experience)."

-Jeffrey Wilhelm, author of Going with the Flow

"I wish I could change one thing about Reading Better, Reading Smarter: I wish I could have demanded that Appleman and Graves had written it sooner. When you start using their SREs (Scaffolded Reading Experiences), it won't only be that your students are reading better and most certainly reading smarter, it will be that your teaching changes. This won't just be a book you read; this will be a book you use."

-Kylene Beers, author of When Kids Can't Read, What Teachers Can Do

"Everyone preparing students to meet Common Core Standards needs this book. Appleman and Graves explain how to scaffold instruction for challenging readings without taking the pleasure out of teaching. They demonstrate classroom approaches that engage students in powerful discussion and foster a love of thinking. Let's keep our eye not on the test but on the text!"

-Carol Jago, author of With Rigor for All, Second Edition

"Our purpose in writing this book is to introduce the SRE approach to both preservice and inservice English teachers so that students in all secondary language arts classrooms can become better, smarter readers."

-Deborah Appleman and Michael Graves

Reading Better, Reading Smarter addresses all areas of planning and implementing Scaffolded Reading Experiences and prepares teachers to create their own SREs to scaffold their students' reading. An SRE is a flexible instructional framework composed of pre-, during-, and postreading activities tailored to a specific instructional situation.

Deborah Appleman and Michael Graves combine the theory and research behind the Scaffolded Reading Experience (SRE) to create this very practical guide showing preservice and inservice teachers how to use this flexible approach to ensuring that each and every student can read, learn from, and enjoy each and every text he or she reads.

By considering the text, their students, and the purpose of the lesson, teachers will be able create appropriate scaffolding for each reading experience their students face. This widely applicable text includes:

  • Twenty two types of pre-, during-, and postreading activities designed to lead students to success
  • Examples of each activity along with information on how to create each type of activity
  • Detailed classroom lesson plans and explanations of what an SRE is and what it is supposed to do as well as what it is not supposed to do
  • Guidance for evaluating and assessing the difficulty of text and formal and informal ways for evaluating student performance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325042404
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 11/7/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Appleman is Professor of Educational Studies and Director of the Summer Writing Program at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Her primary interests include adolescent response to literature, multicultural literature, and the teaching of literary theory to high school students. A high school English teacher for nine years, Deborah works weekly with high school teachers and students in both urban and suburban schools. She is the author of Critical Encounters in High School English.

Michael F. Graves is a former high school English teacher, a Professor Emeritus of Literacy Education at the University of Minnesota, and a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. Michael has authored and coauthored over a dozen books on vocabulary learning and instruction and on comprehension instruction. His recent books include Teaching Vocabulary to English-Language Learners, Fostering Comprehension in English Classes, and Reading and Responding in the Middle Grades.

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Table of Contents


English Teacher and Reading Teacher xi

Teaching Literature or Teaching Reading? xii

From English Teacher to Literacy Teacher xii

Today's Language Arts Classroom xiii

The Literacy Crisis xiii

Scaffolded Reading Experiences xiv

SREs Can Transform How You Teach Literature xv

Overview of This Book xvi

A Final Word xvi


What Is a Scaffolded Reading Experience? 1

What Is a Scaffolded Reading Experience? 2

Prereading Activities 5

During-Reading Activities 8

Postreading Activities 9

Variability in Scaffolded Reading Experiences 13

Critical Constructs Underlying Scaffolded Reading

Experiences 16

Differentiating Instruction 19

A Final Word 20

Chapter 1 Prereading Activities 21

Motivating 24

Relating the Reading to Students' Lives 26

Building or Activating Background Knowledge 28

Providing Text-Specific Knowledge 30

Preteaching Vocabulary 31

Preteaching Concepts 33

Prequestioning, Predicting, and Setting Direction 35

Suggesting Strategies 37

Considering Literary Elements 38

Suggesting Literary Lenses 40

A Final Word 41

Chapter 2 During-Reading Activities 43

Silent Reading 44

Reading to Students 44

Supported Reading 46

Traditional Study Activities 49

Student Oral Reading 51

Modifying the Text 53

A Final Word 55

Chapter 3 Postreading Activities 56

Questioning 57

Discussion 59

Writing 61

Drama 63

Artistic, Graphic, and Nonverbal Activities 65

Application and Outreach 67

Building Connections 69

Reteaching 71

A Final Word 73

Chapter 4 Lenses for Approaching Literary Texts 75

Getting Started: Prereading Activities 76

Introducing Literary Lenses 77

Scaffolding Reading Experiences and Literary Lenses 80

A Final Word 86

Chapter 5 Comprehensive SREs for English Classes 87

Comprehensive SRE for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 88

Comprehensive SRE for "The Boy Without a Flag" By Abraham Rodriguez, Jr. 96

A Final Word 102

Chapter 6 Selecting Texts and Assessing Student Performance 104

Selecting Texts 104

Assessing Student Performance 109

A Final Word 116

Literature Cited 117

References 122

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