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Adolescent Literacy

Turning Promise into Practice

By Edited by Kylene Beers, Edited by Robert E Probst, Edited by Linda Rief

Kylene, Bob, and Linda lead 28 of our most important middle and secondary educators in a conversation about the teaching of literacy to adolescents and how best to move literacy instruction forward.

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Full Description

A study guide is available for this title. Click here to download (PDF, 117KB).

This is the time to think boldly about adolescent literacy. So much of what we know about adolescents and their learning has changed in the last decade, and since then both the world of education and the world at large have become very different places. Adolescent Literacy convenes a conversation among today’s most important educational thinkers and practitioners to address crucial advances in research on adolescent learning, to assess which of our current practices meets the challenges of the twenty-first century, and to discover transformative ideas and methods that turn the promise of education into instructional practice.

In Adolescent Literacy renowned educators Kylene Beers, Bob Probst, and Linda Rief lead twenty-eight of the most important and widely read educators across the country in a conversation about where we are in the teaching of literacy to adolescents and how best to move forward. From researchers to classroom teachers, from long-treasured voices to important new members of the education community, Adolescent Literacy includes the thoughts of central figures in the field today.
Adolescent Literacy discusses the most provocative issues of our time, including:
  • English language learners
  • struggling readers
  • technology in the classroom
  • multimodal literacy
  • compelling writing instruction
  • teaching in a “flat world”
  • young adult literature.
Each of its chapters builds on the previous to create a unified story of adolescent literacy that will help all middle and secondary teachers and administrators envision literacy instruction in exciting new ways. In addition Adolescent Literacy’sassessment rubrics for teachers, administrators, and staff developers make it an ideal resource for schoolwide and districtwide professional development, while its accompanying study guide is perfect for small-group discussions. 
Now is indeed the time to create a powerful vision of how to teach adolescents. The research on their learning has reached a critical mass, modern technology has allowed them to engage in a far wider range of literate behaviors than ever before, and their world has become increasingly connected, increasingly competitive, and increasingly polarized. Read Adolescent Literacy, consider the thoughts of leading educators, and join a conversation about what it means to teach and learn in this dynamic new environment. And do it soon, because the need to turn education’s promise into classroom practice has never been more urgent.

Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)


Introduction, Kylene Beers
1. The Measure of Our Success, Kylene Beers
2. Flying Blind, Chris Crutcher
3. Multiliterate Youth in the Time of Scientific Reading Instruction, Donna E. Alvermann
4. The Essence of Understanding, Ellin Oliver Keene
INTERLUDE 1: Lessons Learned The Need to Write, the Need to Listen, Ruth Shagoury
5. Tom Sawyer, Teaching, and Talking, Robert E. Probst
6. Of Times, Teens, and Books, Teri S. Lesesne
INTERLUDE 2: Lessons Learned Building the Textual Lineages of African American Male Adolescents, Alfred W. Tatum
7. Mastering the Art of Effective Vocabulary Instruction, Janet Allen
8. English Language Learners in the Classroom Cynthia Mata Aguilar, Danling Fu, and Carol Jago
9. One Teacher to One Student with One Powerful Strategy, Harvey Daniels
INTERLUDE 3: Lessons Learned Reading with Adolescents, Deborah Appleman
10. Teaching English Language Arts in a "Flat" World, Jim Burke
11. Teaching Writing from the Inside, Tom Romano
12. Teach Writing Your Way, Donald M. Murray
13. Writing: Commonsense Matters, Linda Rief
INTERLUDE 4: Lessons Learned The Importance of Choice, Penny Kittle
14. Unleashing Potential with Emerging Technologies, Sara B. Kajder
15. Making It Matter Through the Power of Inquiry, Jeffrey D. Wilhelm and Michael W. Smith
16. Building Academic Success with Underachieving Adolescents, Yvette Jackson and Eric J. Cooper
17. Thinking Through Assessment, Devon Brenner, P. David Pearson, and Linda Rief
18. Effective Teachers, Effective Instruction, Richard L. Allington
INTERLUDE 5: Lessons Learned Who Is the Good Teacher?, Leila Christenbury
19. Five Things You Need to Know About Literacy Coaching in Middle and High Schools, Kathryn Egawa
20. The Role of Handover in Teaching for Democratic Participation, Randy Bomer
Afterword: Nancie Atwell
Trade Resources
Appendix A: Templates
Appendix B: Surveys


Companion Resources

Download the guide (PDF, 117KB).

Many teachers asked us for a study guide to accompany Adolescent Literacy. We were reluctant to provide a list of study questions for each chapter, as we know that you'll quickly find what you want to discuss as you read. So, the guide we've created, available here, offers more general questions that we think are appropriate for any chapter.


Related PD Services


Email if you would like to contact Kylene Beers directly about professional development support.


Email if you would like to contact Robert E Probst directly about professional development support.

PD Resources From Linda Rief