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If you have children in the public school system in America, then you have probably heard about Common Core education. I’ve heard of it, but have to say that I don’t know much about what it really is or what it means for my children to be part of the common core education system. I have noticed that my children’s reading and math assignments are sometimes harder than I remember having at their grade level in school.
Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction by Doug Lemov, Colleen Driggs, and Erica Woolway is a large paperback book, printed on 8 x 11″ paper and containing over 400+ pages of information about improving literacy in education through the common core method. It is being published by JOSSEY-BASS.
The idea is that increasing literacy skills is necessary for success in all areas of education. As Colleen Driggs explains, “Among the core subjects taught in school, reading is the first among equals — the most singular in importance because all others rely on it. Excellence in almost any school subject requires strong reading.”
The book contains eight chapters, the first four being referred to as the “core of the core”, the nuts and bolts, so to speak. The last four chapters focus on the “fundamentals”, core elements of literacy instruction. Here is a list of the chapters and a description of each chapter to show what one can expect to learn by reading the book.
- Chapter 1: addresses text selection, the idea that what we choose to read matters as much as how we read it.
- Chapter 2: takes on Close Reading — defining it and providing a set of tools that can help teachers close read with rigor and insight.
- Chapter 3: addresses the importance of non-fiction.
- Chapter 4: takes on the topic of writing and specific ways to teach it to help students read more effectively.
- Chapter 5: focuses on ensuring students read a lot in a variety of ways — silently, aloud, and being read to.
- Chapter 6: takes on vocabulary and proposes a two-part approach using both explicit and implicit vocabulary instruction.
- Chapter 7: focuses on consistent ways to approach key activities in the literacy classroom to make them more efficient, productive and autonomous.
- Chapter 8: addresses the ultimate goal of reading instruction — intellectual autonomy.
According to Erica Woolway, “Ultimately, Reading Reconsidered is about the enduring power of reading to shape and develop minds, both in the classroom and, ultimately, outside of it. It’s an anxious time for many teachers but also a time of great opportunity. This book will provide a road map from confusion to success.”
I really like that this book will be available on Amazon in February 2016, giving parents the opportunity to get a glimpse inside the mysterious world of Common Core with respect to literacy. Educators know what they’re doing and it’s not that I don’t have trust for their methods. But, as a parent, I sometimes feel like I’m outside the loop when it comes to methods of educational instruction. There have been times my children have come home with an assignment with very little information about what they are supposed to be doing, or if there are instructions sometimes they seem very complicated. I’ve not had an awesome experience with Common Core in general because I don’t understand what it is or how it’s supposed to work (even though I am college educated) and that translated to feeling overwhelmed and helpless to assist my children in their studies.
So, while it is a fairly long book, it’s not too long and the chapters seem manageable to read. I feel like I’m doing something proactive while reading it because I’m starting to understand a little more about how to help my children as well as understand their occasional frustrations with their schoolwork.
If you have any interest in learning more about Common Core as pertains to literacy instruction, this book is a must read for you! The book is currently available for pre-order directly from the publisher, at most major book sellers or on Amazon in anticipation of its February 2016 release.
Despite the book being geared toward teachers, I think parents should strongly consider reading it as well so that we have a better basis for understanding what and how our children are learning. It can only increase our ability to work with teachers to support our young learners.
Are you planning to purchase Reading Reconsidered when it is released? Why or why not?
Disclaimer: I received a manuscript of the title shown here to facilitate review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.