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Shanahan on Literacy

Is Building Knowledge the Best Way to Increase Literacy Achievement?

I suspect that our kids would read better if they knew more, so expanding kids’ knowledge of the world very well might promote higher literacy. I also suspect that knowing more about the world will foster curiosity, adventure, a greater sense of community, environmental responsibility, health, patriotism, and even, healthy skepticism — so it definitely isn’t all about reading. 

Shanahan on Literacy

Carol Jago on Literature or Not Literature

For those of you upset about literature being dropped from the English curriculum, you might want to read this lovely piece written by my friend, Carol Jago. She knows something about the teaching of literature and I think you’ll find her insights helpful.

Shanahan on Literacy

Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction

A middle school reading coach asks if it is important for African American children to read African American literature. Alfred Tatum, author of Engaging African American Males in Reading, shares his thoughts.

Shanahan on Literacy

Does Homework Improve Reading Achievement?

In grades 3-8, homework has a fairly consistent impact on achievement — and the payoff tends to increase as students advance through the grades (but so does the amount of homework time needed — more on that later).

Black teacher working with Latino high school student on reading
Shanahan on Literacy

I'm a High School Reading Resource Teacher. What Should I Do?

For those kids who need basic decoding instruction, targeted interventions are important. But for the others, teach reading using the books those students need to read in their other classes. That approach simultaneously builds reading skills, improves content learning, and increases academic confidence.

Shanahan on Literacy

Pre-reading and ELLs: Let’s Take off the Training Wheels

Instead of front-loading the first reading, you could try front-loading the second or third — after the kids have had a chance to “pedal the bike themselves” — even if that pedaling isn’t perfectly successful.

Shanahan on Literacy

Think-Pair-Share in Reading Instruction: Is It Effective?

When kids get the opportunity to discuss something with a partner before responding to a teacher question, positive outcomes have been seen in the primary grades in reading and in the upper grades with second-language learners.

Shanahan on Literacy

My Two-Handed Opinion on Teaching with Novels

[I recommend] balancing the needs for sustained attention and stamina and the possibility of exposing kids to some really great novels against exposing kids to a broader and more varied experience with elements of literature, literary works, and racial, ethnic, and gender sources.