8 Great Books to Help Students Become Better Readers
There are tons of reading materials out there. With a single click you can access a treasure trove of reading materials covering anything you want, yet, our students hardly read and when they do their attention span tolerates only a few minutes of undivided focus. Is digitality creating a reading crisis? A definitive answer is hard to reach but the work of several scholars (e.g., Sherry Turkle, Nicholas Carr, Mark Bauerlein, Andrew Keen, to mention a few)) is pinpointing the finger of blame at the new and emerging technologies. Here is, for instance, how Nicholas Carr (2010) described his own reading ordeal in the light of this digital revolution:
Over the last few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I feel it most strongly when I’m reading. I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book or a lengthy article. My mind would get caught up in the twists of the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel like I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle. I think I know what’s going on. For well over a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet (Kindle location. 142).
The purpose of our post today is to help you guide your students cultivate a love of reading through a set of recommended books we have meticulously handpicked for you. All of these works have been authored by teachers and/ or reading experts who have already tried what they preached. The insights gleaned from their own teaching experiences corroborated by authoritative literature from the field make the work of these authors a must read for teachers and parents. More specifically, you will get introduced to strategies, tips, and classroom-tested ideas to help you put your students on the path to becoming critical, independent and better readers. We invite you to check them out and share with us your feedback in our Facebook page. (Links to the books are under the visual)
Please note, the links below are Amazon affiliate links enabling me to earn from your purchases.
1- The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers 1st Edition, by Jennifer Serravallo (Author)”Strategies make the often invisible work of reading actionable and visible,” Jen writes. In The Reading Strategies Book, she collects 300 strategies to share with readers in support of thirteen goals-everything from fluency to literary analysis. Each strategy is cross-linked to skills, genres, and Fountas & Pinnell reading levels to give you just-right teaching, just in time.”2- How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (A Touchstone book) Revised Edition, by Mortimer J. Adler (Author), Charles Van Doren (Author)“Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to “judge a book by its cover,” and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text.”
3- The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child 1st Edition, by Donalyn Miller (Author), Jeff Anderson (Foreword)“Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn’t turn into a reader. No matter how far behind Miller’s students might be when they reach her 6th grade classroom, they end up reading an average of 40 to 50 books a year. Miller’s unconventional approach dispenses with drills and worksheets that make reading a chore. Instead, she helps students navigate the world of literature and gives them time to read books they pick out themselves. Her love of books and teaching is both infectious and inspiring. The book includes a dynamite list of recommended “kid lit” that helps parents and teachers find the books that students really like to read.”
4- Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits 1st Edition, by Donalyn Miller (Author), Susan Kelley (Contributor)“Based, in part, on survey responses from adult readers as well as students, Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage, and assess five key reading habits that cultivate a lifelong love of reading. Also included are strategies, lesson plans, management tools, and comprehensive lists of recommended books.”5- Conferring with Readers: Supporting Each Student’s Growth and Independence, by Jennifer Serravallo (Author), Gravity Goldberg (Author)“Conferring with Readers is a comprehensive guide that shows you how to determine what readers have learned and what they need to practice, then provides suggestions for targeting instruction to meet students’ needs. It provides explicit teaching methods for use in effective conferences.”6- Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies, by Kylene Beers (Author), Robert E Probst (Author)“When students recognize that nonfiction ought to challenge us, ought to slow us down and make us think, then they’re more likely to become close readers.” That means we need to help them question texts, authors, and, ultimately, their own thinking. No matter the content area, with Reading Nonfiction’s classroom-tested suggestions, you’ll lead kids toward skillful and responsible disciplinary literacy.”7- Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading 1st Edition, by Kylene Beers (Author), Robert E Probst (Author)“In Notice and Note Kylene Beers and Bob Probst introduce 6 “signposts” that alert readers to significant moments in a work of literature and encourage students to read closely. Learning first to spot these signposts and then to question them, enables readers to explore the text, any text, finding evidence to support their interpretations. In short, these close reading strategies will help your students to notice and note.”
8- The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading: An Assess-Decide-Guide Framework for Supporting Every Reader, by Jan Richardson (Author)“All the planning and instructional tools you need to teach guided reading well, from pre-A to fluent, organized around Richardson’s proven Assess-Decide-Guide framework.”