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Blog: 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.

young girl sitting on the floor with stacks of books and various subject area icons floating above her head
Blog: Shanahan on Literacy

Disciplinary Literacy: The Basics

Disciplinary literacy is based upon the idea that literacy and text are specialized, and even unique, across the disciplines. Historians engage in very different approaches to reading than mathematicians do, for instance.

Blog: Shanahan on Literacy

Does text structure instruction improve reading comprehension?

Meta-analyses indicate that it is effective to teach kids about multiple text structures, and that text structure instruction is particularly potent when writing, graphic organizers, and guidance on watching for “clue words” are included.

Black teacher working with Latino high school student on reading
Blog: 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.

Blog: Shanahan on Literacy

Marilyn Adams on Text Complexity

This idea of using challenging (not impossible texts) is important. Students do need texts that they can read, but they also need to stretch. Towards that end, I suggest the following.

Blog: Shanahan on Literacy

Round Robin by Any Other Name ... Oral Reading for Older Readers

While I encourage, and even require, oral reading instruction in middle schools, I don’t countenance round robin. Engage your kids in paired reading and they’ll get much more oral reading practice than in the round robin approach.

Blog: Shanahan on Literacy

Should We Read to High School Students?

Oral sharing and video and audio presentations have their place in the high school English curriculum. But it is a small place, so teachers need to be honest with themselves as to why they are using those approaches.

Blog: Shanahan on Literacy

Should We Stop Using Guided Reading Because of Common Core?

Only part of guided reading is under challenge by Common Core. Small group instruction should afford teachers opportunities to observe student problems with reading and interpretation, and this insight should be used to shape instruction.