Readers Front and Center

  • Title:Readers Front and Center: Helping All Students Engage with Complex Texts
  • Author:Dorothy Barnhouse
  • Publication Date:April 2014
  • Grade Level:2-8
  • ISBN:9781571109675
  • Publisher:Stenhouse

Every teacher wants and expects his or her students to be reading increasingly complex texts, yet sometimes the gap between our expectations and our students' abilities seems wide and deep. It's tempting to look at that gap and step in to fill it for them, but then we'd be doing most of the "heavy lifting"—the understanding, analysis, and interpretation that our students should be learning for themselves.

So how can teachers reverse this trend and ensure that our students are fully entering, absorbing, and experiencing texts? How can we make sure they're making complex meaning "independently and proficiently," as the Common Core State Standards require?

Readers Front and Center answers these questions by framing instruction that starts with the student. You'll learn how to do the following:

  • Research and listen to your students so your teaching can be more targeted
  • Notice and name your students' thinking so they can "see" what complex thinking looks and sounds like
  • Set your students up to be problem solvers
  • Prepare your students to do increasingly complex thinking in increasingly complex texts

Filled with examples of one-on-one conferences, small groups, and whole-class scenarios, this essential book provides an accessible and inspiring model of how—and why—we need to put students at the front and center of our teaching.


Author Bio

Dorothy Barnhouse is an independent literacy consultant and staff developer. She works closely with elementary and secondary teachers in New York City public schools—and throughout the country—to elevate student reading, writing, and thinking. A frequent presenter at national conferences, Dorothy is the coauthor, with Vicki Vinton, of What Readers Really Do. Dorothy received her bachelor's degree in history from Oberlin College and her MFA in writing from Columbia University. Her specialties include the teaching of reading, with an emphasis on close reading of complex texts, and teaching through inquiry.

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