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Middle School Readers (eBook)

Helping Them Read Widely, Helping Them Read Well

By Nancy Allison
Foreword by Laura Robb

Nancy shows how to provide the choice adolescents crave with the guidance they need—and she does this all with instructional and organizational strategies that make this infinitely manageable. Includes a study guide, which makes this an ideal book for professional book study.


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List Price: $29.38

Web/School Price: $20.56


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Full Description

"When I finished Middle School Readers I wanted to reverse time and relive sixth grade as a student in Nancy Allison’s class. Allison takes us into her own unique brand of reading workshop, providing the finest road map for teachers. Ultimately, what Allison communicates is that to help students read fiction and nonfiction, to refine their knowledge of genre structure and reading strategies, we must engage in conversations with students that lead them to independence." Laura Robb, Author of Teaching Middle School Writers

"Students need language arts classrooms where the shelves are filled with engaging fiction and nonfiction texts--and where their teacher's main responsibility is to support their growth as readers. They deserve to be respected and supported as they work their way through self-selected texts." Nancy Allison

Nancy Allison shows how to provide the choice adolescents crave with the guidance they need—and she does this all with instructional and organizational strategies that make this infinitely manageable. In describing how to teach middle school students to read widely and well, Nancy presents:

  • the daily routines of an effective reading workshop with ideas for developing a robust classroom library
  • tips for cultivating independent readers and matching students to just-right books
  • her unique brand of deskside conferences with examples of how they can be used to differentiate instruction and motivate disengaged readers
  • strategies for teaching comprehension in fiction and nonfiction texts
  • techniques for assessing and evaluating independent readers.

Plus! A built-in study guide makes this an ideal book for professional book study.


  1. The Teacher on the Sidelines of Independent Reading
  2. Planning for Engagement: Coloring and Contouring Students’ Expectations
  3. Clever Matchmaking Between Students and Books
  4. Direct Instruction and Routines in the Independent Reading Classroom
  5. Teaching Through Deskside Conferences
  6. Capturing the Attention of Our Disengaged Readers
  7. Differentiating Instruction Through Deskside Conferences
  8. Teaching Comprehension in Fiction Texts
  9. Teaching Comprehension in Nonfiction Texts
  10. Assessing Independent Readers

Study Guide References


Companion Resources


"In her crucial book on supported independent reading, Nancy Allison explicitly shows us how to reach and teach every student to become an engaged, comprehending reader. Through the strategies she teaches, the expectations she sets, and the language she speaks when conferring with students, she makes us knowledgeable insiders in the process of turning ALL kids on to reading. Book choice, quality nonfiction, a great classroom library, book talks, and effective questions are just some of the many instructional tools Nancy Allison deftly employs as she guides every student to become a competent, confident reader. Middle School Readers is indispensable reading for every K-12 teacher!" Regie Routman

"Nancy Allison remembers when she used to teach books rather than children. The good news is she found her way out of the traditional ways of teaching middle school readers and has perfected a much better method for getting readers excited and engaged in reading. This small book provides, literally, step by step directions for creating classrooms where struggling readers will thrive and where all kids really become readers. It is a joy to read and makes me wish I had my own middle school classroom once again." Dick Allington, University of Tennessee

"I have to admit, I bought Middle School Readers: Helping Them Read Widely, Helping Them Read Well by Nancy Allison without even reading that much about it. Seeing the title, knowing it was specifically about reading in middle school, as well as the fun picture was enough for me to click right over to Amazon and place my order. Though I knew the book would be focused on student choice in reading, I had no idea that it would be such a perfect fit for my personal professional development right now. With the first chapter I was ready to burst with excitement when I realized that the whole book was centered around the concept of supported independent reading. While Allison does not call it reading workshop, the concepts aligned with the components of workshop. She discussed scaffolding to help students make good decisions about the books they read, linking mini-lessons to conferences, reflections she has students do in their notebooks to practice strategies discussed in the mini-lessons.

I can not think of a better time that I could have picked up this book. I am a couple of school weeks away from completing the second quarter. It is a great time for me to reflect about what has been going well and what I want to improve. Over the break I am spending some time in my classroom to plan for the second half of the year for each content area. I had wanted to strengthen my reading mini-lessons. Allison gave me so many ideas on how I can do this, as well as how I can make sure that reflections and conferences are linked to the mini-lesson. What I love the most is that Allison advocates starting out conferences with a connection to the mini-lesson, but then of course it is individualized. If the student is already confident in the mini-lesson topic the teacher can push them further in their reading with whichever area they need. On the other hand if the teacher notices the need to go back and reteach, that is the direction the conference will take. It seems so obvious to have the mini-lesson as a starting point that as soon as I read it, it made perfect sense, but I had not been doing that intentionally with my conferences." Mrs. V, read more of this review on Mrs. V's blog