Trusting Readers: Powerful Practices for Independent Reading

Heinemann. May 2021. 184p. pap. $28.75. ISBN 9780325120478.
Schools are saturated with structured reading programs, and many educators are frustrated by the disconnect between concept and practice. While reading progress may be easy to track using systems that measure it through leveling and testing, the joy of discovery is lost in the process. Scoggin and Schneewind offer an alternative view of reading instruction that is simple on the surface: trusting children to read for pleasure, without completely eliminating existing education systems. The authors emphasize the importance of providing kids time to read, the freedom to choose their reading materials, the opportunity to talk and listen to their fellow students in large and small groups, and robust teacher support for these elements. Through their “Cycle of Conferring” framework, children are coached to maximize their identities as readers. Teachers will find copious examples through real notes from students. The authors cite numerous case studies from their own experience and refer to many research studies to support their assertions. Educators are encouraged to check their biases in terms of the books they make available in classrooms and to foster a classroom environment in which students are empowered to choose what they want to read. Additional information, forms, and templates are available on Heinemann’s website, including tips for supporting independent reading throughout remote learning.
VERDICT Innovative and intuitive, this text is sure to become part of the professional reading canon for thoughtful educators.

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