Building Literacy Through Classroom:
Research-Based Strategies for Developing Critical Readers and Thoughtful
Writers in Middle School
Author: Mary Alder and Eija Rougle
This book provides research based strategies that can be used in the classroom to develop critical readers and thoughtful
writers. This book talks about having students voice their ideas through discussion. To set the ground of discussion is given
priority. During discussion the students reflect and troubleshoot. The book has helpful troubleshooting tips as a literary
device to help readers visualize the concepts being introduced. Authors also talk about giving students the language for responding
to each other during a discussion. For example- (1) I agree with... (2) At first I thought that... The authors emphasize on
the fact that discussion centred classroom is a student centred classroom. The book also talks about paired reading, journals
and poetry as strategies to get students talking and reflecting about texts they’ve read. The book gives strategies
for the students to be active listeners. For example-students could write about a discussion and reflect in a written form.
The book addresses the issues of whether discussion is appropriate for struggling readers and provides some solutions. The
book talks about using discussion to further develop students’ literacy achievement. It gives ways to help students
to reason, challenge a view point, consider an issue from multiple perspectives. It is a very good book and I would recommend
this book to every elementary grade teacher to use it in their balanced literacy program.
The Writing Road to Reading
- The Spalding Method for Teaching speech, spelling, writing, and reading.
By- Romalda Bishop Spalding and Mary E. North
Publishers: Harper Collins Publishers
The Spalding Method website states that Spalding Method is a total Language Arts approach because it provides explicit,
sequential, multi sensory instruction in spelling (including phonics and handwriting), writing, and listening/reading comprehension.
When I read this book I liked the approach. This method is child centred, has high expectations and the book provides many
activities which are purposeful and meaningful and gets the children thinking. It helps the students build the ability to
reason and it motivates them. The book stresses on active participation, multi sensory instruction, diagnostic teaching, and
integration of language with other subjects. This book also has a children's literature recommendation which includes different
grade levels. This book has a list of phonograms and rules of pronunciation, syllables etc. The authors also look at the examples
of primary and intermediate spelling/vocabulary notebook. This book has valuable instructional tips for teaching spelling
This book has a chapter on planning integrated language Arts lessons. Spalding method concentrates on each student's physical
and mental well being. Physical well being means that student can learn without experiencing discomfort. Mental well being
involves feeling accepted and successful. The book talks about how to create a successful lesson plan. It says that the teacher
must select instructional objective at the correct level of difficulty, select instructional delivery levels for each objective,
align information, responses and activities to each objective prepare the introduction and conclusion. This is another effective
book which must be in the teachers' resource cupboard.
For Building Successful Readers and Writers
By- David Booth and Larry Swartz
This book is a useful resource for elementary teachers who want to explore the best techniques for reading and
writing. It offers many procedures and activities. It includes reading comprehension strategies along with writing process.
It contains practical ideas to meet the particular needs of every student. Each strategy includes a brief discussion of the
issues and then focuses on ready-to-use ideas for any classroom. It talks about organizing a literacy classroom (from timetabling
and involving the library to essential classroom resources in all genres.); joining the literacy club (from conditions for
literacy learning and gender issues to supporting literacy growth and using parents as partners), structures for literacy
learning (from creating a print environment and guided reading to independent reading and tutoring struggling students); reading
strategies (from tapping into background knowledge and monitoring comprehension to encouraging oral, written, and visual response);
writing strategies (from using notebooks and tricks of the trade to writing in genre and applying the conventions of language).
This book has a list of reproducible checklists and guidelines for classroom use. This is a very good resource for teachers
to help them create a literacy environment in their classrooms. It covers all the basic requirements of a balanced literacy
Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding
By-Stephanie Harvey and Anne GoudvisPublishers:
This book is a 336 page book which offers a variety of strategies including many activities and ideas for a literacy program
in a classroom. The publishers commnets on the books are "A child may be a great decoder, but that's only one step toward
becoming a fluent reader. Reading implies thinking and understanding, and teachers can help children develop strategies for
comprehension. Children need to know how to make connections and ask questions, how to visualize and infer, how to extract
important ideas and to synthesize information if they are to become fluent readers. Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis show
how teachers can model these strategies by thinking aloud and coding the text, lifting text onto the overhead and reasoning
through it in class discussions, and bringing in their own books to model how adults use these strategies. All the while teachers
give students long blocks of time to practice these strategies independently in their own reading"
This book has more than 40 strategy lessons to understand text for all grade levels. It guides the teachers to use poetry,
short text, news papers, magazines etc. to teach comprehension. This book has examples of students work, illustrations, scripts
of conversations, and a complete assessment interview to demonstrate and evaluate students' use of strategies.
Guided Readers and Writers: Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy
by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell
The book is divided into six sections: Breakthrough to Literacy, Independent Reading ,Guided Reading ,Literature Study
,Teaching for Comprehension and Word Analysis ,The Reading and Writing Connection. Each section discusses thoroughly about
each issue and provides strategies and activities to cultivate reading, writing, and literacy competencies. The book elaborately
discusses about guided reading, how to introduce levelled texts, independent reading and how to plan mini lessons on these,
how to maintain a journal by the students to explore meaning of the text they have read. This book has at the end of each
book section suggestions for effectively and efficiently helping struggling readers and writers. The book provides illustrations,
pictures, charts which help the teachers augment literacy learning in their class. This book is a very good resource for elementary
grade teachers who want an organized approach to a balanced literacy program for their students.