I hope you are interested in setting up or sustaining a proficient-reader classroom. I had you in mind when I built this site. If you are here because you enjoyed my professional-development sessions, thank you! This site is designed to support you, as well.
In the late 1990s, I learned how to help students who could read words but could not comprehend. After reading Mosaic of Thought, the first book where proficient reader strategies were explained, I tried lessons in 2nd-5th grades first to see if what I read would work. Then, I took the ideas to K-1, middle school and high school with astounding results – as you will read on these pages. Of course, test scores went up. More importantly, older students began reading again.
I thought that parents and teachers should know about the proficient reader research as well, and so I began consulting, publishing articles, and writing LikeToRead, LikeToWrite and Facebook/LikeToWrite. Starting in 2007, I began working with school transformation teams to help schools move up and out of a low performance measure.
Common Core and New State Curricula
In 2010, after initial successes teaching proficient reader lessons, along came a new curriculum. Disagreements emerged: strategies should or should not be taught in isolation, and don’t teach connections any more, for example. But, the proficient reader strategies are still in Common Core – not in isolation, but integrated, as they should be.
In addition, we’ve learned more about teaching each strategy in the 20 years since Mosaic of Thought first was published. (For example: Avoid teaching text-to-text, text-to-world, or text-to-self connections; naming is irrelevant.) In fact, Keene & Zimmerman have revised Mosaic of Thought. We know there is no one-way to teach these strategies. I offer a starting point with hopes that you will branch out from there.
Applies to all content areas
Students benefit when teachers demonstrate how they solve reading challenges. The students try the modeled way and then discuss how the teacher’s advice worked. They talk about their struggles, how they worked through them, and add new strategies to the list of possibilities. They reflect on their learning.
The teachers of any content can follow this same pattern. Who better to model how to read a science document, solve a math problem, or read music than the teacher of that content? If teachers adopt the same language across the school, students see how learning is related – regardless of the content.
Ready for change
If you have students whose only fix-up strategy is sound it out, or students who don’t care about discussing deeper meanings of texts, or students who don’t like to read, you’re probably ready for a change like I was.
Read my site to understand the comprehension process. Download the sample lesson plans I offer FREE. Look for the hot links in the text and in the right sidebars. Use the search box to find help for specific problems. Use Quick Search to find topics by alphabetical order.
Read! Luckily, now there are many articles and lesson books to guide us. Attend conferences. Share ideas with your colleagues. I can come to your school and explain in more detail.
Still have work to do
Not so long ago, Education Leadership reported that college professors asked students to solve problems that had no answers or had complex answers. The young adults didn’t know how.
Our students are still not prepared to think despite the programs we have in place. Thinking IS the point. Clearly, we still have more work to do. At the very least, when children leave our care, they should "Like To Read," and they will if they understand what they're reading. I believe my site will help.