To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension / Edition 1

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"This is a work of incredible scope: adventurous, ingratiating, challenging, genuinely groundbreaking, and gorgeously written. It will knock the socks off this profession."

-Harvey Daniels
Author of Subjects Matter and Content-Area Writing

The renaissance in comprehension instruction launched by Mosaic of Thought has led to changes in hundreds of thousands of classrooms, where teachers now model reading strategies, and students probe meaning more deeply. But no book in the field has satisfactorily answered the question: What does it really mean to comprehend? In To Understand, Ellin Oliver Keene not only explores this important question, but reveals what teachers can do to encourage all students to engage in deep understanding far more consistently than before.

In discovering what's really behind comprehension, To Understand goes well beyond comprehension strategy instruction. Keene identifies specific Dimensions and Outcomes of Understanding-characteristics identified in readers with a highly developed ability to make sense of text-to help you rethink what comprehension is. She demonstrates how to leverage the Dimensions and Outcomes into relevant, provocative, memorable instruction.

To Understand proposes a model that incorporates all aspects of literacy instruction-word learning and comprehension-and describes how teachers can focus on what matters most in literacy content. Keene shows that when teachers target the most essential content, they have the time to help every student engage more deeply with texts and discover a passion for reading and learning. The model is founded on four simple, but powerful concepts:

  • Focus on what's important by teaching vital concepts in depth rather than skimming over nonessential skills
  • Use research-based teaching and learning strategies, including proven-effective comprehension and language-based strategies, then taking them further by showing students how the strategies lead them to a fuller understand of a text
  • Teach the essential concepts over a long period of time so that children have an opportunity to learn not only a comprehension strategy, but to explore where that strategy leads in their understanding
  • Give students numerous opportunities to apply the concepts in a variety of texts and contexts.

With To Understand in hand, you'll find new ways to draw out the innate intellectual interest in every student and spark dramatic improvements in literacy learning and comprehension, even among students who struggle. You'll see that by rethinking what it means to understand-by teaching children the Outcomes and Dimensions of understanding-you can help students exceed expectations while broadening your vision of their abilities, their capacity, and their energy for learning.

There's still more-much more-to learn about comprehension. Read To Understand, join Ellin Oliver Keene, and discover that what's at the very core of comprehension can not only reinvigorate your teaching but take your students to new, uncharted levels of learning.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325003238
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 1/29/2008
  • Edition description: Grade Level: K-8
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 474,865
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellin is author of Talk About Understanding: Rethinking Classroom Talk to Enhance Understanding, To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension, co-author of Comprehension Going Forward and of Mosaic of Thought: The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction, 2nd edition as well as numerous chapters for professional books and journals on the teaching of reading as well as education policy journals. Ellin Oliver Keene has been a classroom teacher, staff developer, non-profit director and adjunct professor of reading and writing. For sixteen years she directed staff development initiatives at the Denver-based Public Education & Business Coalition. She served as Deputy Director and Director of Literacy and Staff Development for the Cornerstone Project at the University of Pennsylvania for 4 years. Ellin currently serves as Director of Research and Development for the PEBC, as senior advisor to Heinemann Professional Development and works with schools and districts throughout the country and abroad. Ellin Oliver Keene is a Heinemann Professional Development provider. She presents Heinemann One-Day Workshops, Live Webinars, and all forms of On-Site PD. She is most sought after for her long-term professional development residencies in partnership with Heinemann Professional Development. For an overview of the Keene Residency ยป
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Table of Contents

Foreword     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Prelude     xv
Rethinking Understanding     1
Seeking Understanding in Our Minds, in Our Lives     20
Driven to Understand     41
Dwelling in Ideas     71
To Savor the Struggle     99
A Renaissance of Understanding     131
Nothing as Certain as Change     160
The Great Conversations     195
To Feel, to Remember, to Understand     226
Comprehension Strategies Defined     246
What's Essential? Literacy Content K-12     253
Conditions for Success in Reader's and Writer's Workshops     259
Conference Record     261
Beyond Reporting on the Book: How Children Can Record Their Thinking About Books     263
Thinking Strategies Proficient Learners Use     265
Tactics for Teaching Comprehension: Effective Strategies for Teaching Deep Structure Systems     274
Best Practices in Oral Language Teaching and Learning     277
Bibliography     288
Index     292
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book takes Mosaic of Thought to the next level. If you want your students to think critically and engage deeply in what they read, you need to read this book. Thought-provoking and beautifully written, this one will be talked about for years.

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    Posted June 24, 2011

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    Posted October 24, 2009

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