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Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating

Filled with an array of field-tested teaching ideas, detailed strategies, reviews of theory, teacher-crafted lessons, and lists of resources, Conversations is all you need to become an informed, confident professional, sensitive to your students' needs and interests.

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Full Description

"Talking the process of change and teaching is a necessity for our intellectual and social well-being," says acclaimed author Regie Routman. Now, in this long-awaited volume, Routman continues the discussion she began in the best-selling Invitations and further explores the full universe of an effective language arts and literacy program across the curriculum. Filled with an array of field-tested teaching ideas, detailed strategies, reviews of theory, teacher-crafted lessons, and lists of resources, Conversations is all you need to become an informed, confident professional, sensitive to your students' needs and interests. What's more, it incorporates Routman's perspective on important topical issues such as curricular rigor, direct teaching, specific skills, and daily monitoring.

Conversations is grounded in the belief that the connections, interactions, reflections, and new thinking that evolve from rich dialogue define what we know. It was written, in part, to spur teachers to challenge assumptions, clarify their own learning, and take the lead in their own professional development. While this is not a book about a particular methodology, Routman does explore current theory and practice, and supports her views with classroom-based and scientific research. The book is upbeat and practical; each chapter is self-contained and can be read in any order. As Routman shares her own experiences and resources—through narratives, anecdotes, step-by-step demonstrations, and examples of students' work—we may find ourselves questioning, modifying, validating, or changing our own practices. Most of all, we will find ourselves talking. And here is where the conversation begins.

Text chapters: 656pp • The Blue Pages: Resources for Teachers: 240pp

(click any section below to continue reading)


1. Teacher as Professional
Teacher as Learner
Teacher as Scholar
Teacher as Mentor
Teacher as Communicator
Teacher as Leader
Teacher as Political Activist
Teacher as Researcher
Teacher as Role Model for Kindness

2. A Comprehensive Literacy Program
What's Basic?
What About Balance?
Using Our Own Literacy to Inform Our Teaching
My Assumptions and Beliefs About Learning
Putting My Beliefs into Practice
Basic Components of a Comprehensive Literacy Program
Connecting Writing with Reading: Integrating Teaching Approaches
Reading Aloud
Communicating the Ongoing Value of Reading Aloud
Reading Aloud as an Opportunity to Demonstrate and Value Reading
Interactive Reading Aloud
Opening Up the Possibilities for Who Reads Aloud
Writing Aloud
Shared Reading
Benefits of Shared Reading
Some Shared Reading Basics
Shared Poetry Reading
Shared Writing
Shared Writing Contexts
Examples of Shared Writing Lessons
A Word About Interactive Writing
Independent Reading
Basic Principles for Independent Reading
Reading for Pleasure
Organizing for Independent Reading
Matching Kids with Books
Keeping a Reading Record
Monitoring Reading Through Brief Interviews
Book Talks
Working Through Problems

3. The Literature Program
From Core to Anchor Books
Problems with the Literature Program
Anchor Books and Literature Units
Reading the Literature
Small-Group Reading
Partner Reading
Independent Reading
Whole-Class Reading
Reading Aloud
Shared Reading
Literature Response
Evaluating Literature Extensions
Effective Extensions
Reading Response Logs
Author/Illustrator Study
Planning for Author/Illustrator Study
Organizing the Literature Collection
Working Out a Schoolwide Organization System
Leveling Books
Classroom Libraries
Designing and Organizing the Classroom Library
Book Circulation
Final Reflections
Continuing the Conversation

4. Teaching Children to Read
What's Gone Wrong in the Teaching of Reading?
Methodology Is Secondary to the Informed Professional Teacher
Becoming More Knowledgeable
Knowing and Interpreting the Research
Criteria for Evaluating Research
Exercising Professional Judgment
Knowing Significant Research Findings
Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: What's Essential
Beliefs and Practices
Some Key Considerations in Determining Your Reading Program
Choosing Materials for Teaching Reading
Dealing with Terminology and Reading Stages
The Interest Factor
The Practice Factor
The Critical Role of Writing in Learning to Read
Observing and Evaluating Your Readers
Incorporating Running Records and Miscue Analysis
Tape-Recording Oral Reading
Informal Reading Conferences
Procedures for an Informal Reading Conference
Working with Struggling Readers
Use Appropriate Books
Watch for Overattention to Decoding
Teach Self-Monitoring
Use Authentic Literature
Promote Fluency
Teaching for Strategies
Promoting Strategic Behavior
Word-Solving Strategies
Text-Solving Strategies
Knowing When We Understand
Guided Reading
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
Organizing for Guided Reading
Individualized Guided Reading
Guided-Reading Groups: What to Teach
Grouping for Guided Reading
Guided Silent Reading: What Happens in a Group Lesson
Framework for a Guided Silent-Reading Lesson
Guided Reading: The Literacy Club in a First-Grade Classroom
Management Techniques and Activities
Procedures That Promote Effective Management
Possible Activities
The Well-Managed Classroom
Final Reflections on Teaching Children to Read
Continuing the Conversation

5. Literature Conversations
Why Literature Conversations?
Making the Transition to Literature Conversations
Understanding "Reader Response"
Teachers as Readers