Reading about Reading: A Partial List of Recommended Books
To Expand Your Knowledge of Reading
For those who are interested in reading about reading, these books and resources offer valuable background information and knowledge on reading and the process of proficient reading. This is a partial list resources on reading and reading instruction recommended by Miscese Gagen, author of Right Track Reading Lessons and Back on the Right Track Reading Lessons.
Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. Copyright 2003
Published by Alfred A Knopf
- This book should be required reading for everyone involved in teaching students to read. If you only read one book, read this one. Dr. Shaywitz is a neuroscientist involved in the fascinating research on the process of proficient reading. In this book, she outlines what scientists are learning about the process of proficient reading and dyslexia (difficulty reading). The scientific evidence on the importance of phonemic awareness and phonologic processing provide a wealth of information that can help us more effectively teach students how to read.
Report of the National Reading Panel Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction Summary Report. This 35 page summary report produced by the US Department of Health and Human Services, National institute of Child Health and Human Development can be ordered in printed form or downloaded from the internet at www.nationalreadingpanel.org/publications/summary.htm
· According to the National Reading Panel Website: “The Summary Report is an ideal resource for anyone who wants to understand the purpose, methodology, and results of the National Reading Panel's findings on reading instruction research. This 35-page report explains the origin of the Panel and its congressional charge. It succinctly describes the research methodology used and the findings of each of the Panel subgroups: (1) Alphabetics, (2) Fluency, (3) Comprehension, (4) Teacher Education and Reading Instruction, and (5) Computer Technology and Reading Instruction. This report also offers insightful information provided by Panel members on reading instruction topics that may require further exploration. This report is an excellent resource for parents, teachers, administrators, or anyone interested in learning about reading instruction research.”
- For those whose enjoy reading vast quantities of detailed reading information, the much longer 360 page version, Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read, An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction Report of the Subgroups is also available.
Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read. This informational guide designed for teachers outlines implementation of the findings of the National Reading Panel. This free publication can be ordered from the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) website or downloaded as a PDF at http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/publications/researchread.htm.
· According to the National Reading Panel website: “This 58-page teacher's guide provides a framework for using the findings of the National Reading Panel in the classroom. It describes the NRP findings and provides analysis and discussion in five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. Each section also suggests implications for classroom instruction with examples of how the findings can be implemented.”
- While this guide is designed specifically for teachers it is also ideal for parents who are teaching their children to read. (The 8 page brochure targeted for parents, Put Reading First Helping Your Child Learn to Read, is too brief and lacks the necessary information on skill development. Therefore parents needing useful information should order the 58 page teacher version)
Why Johnny Can’t Read and What You Can Do About It and the follow-up book Why Johnny Still Can’t Read by Rudolph Flesch. The original Why Johnny Can’t Read was copyrighted in 1955 and published by Harper & Row.
- This classic book describes the reading problem in America. Mr. Flesch details the failure of our education systems to teach children how to read because they use whole word or look-say methods instead of phonic methods. While this book was written before the new scientific information on reading instruction was available, his conclusions and approach to effective reading instruction are correct. It is interesting to note while this book was written over half a century ago, his alarm was for the most part ignored, and the same failed ‘whole word’ approach to reading instruction was continued and in fact is still used many schools to this day. This is an important book to read for historical perspective on the ongoing debate on reading instruction.
Why Our Children Can’t Read and What We Can Do About It by Diane McGuinness Ph.D. Copyright 1997 Published by Simon & Schuster
- This book contains solid information on the reading problem in America, specific information on the linguistic development of our written language, the importance of phonological awareness, and the phonologic base to our language. In some ways this is an updated version of ‘Why Johnny Can’t Read’ with greater detail on our phonemic language. This book is well worth reading.
The Writing Road to Reading: The Spalding Method of Phonics for Teaching Speech, Writing and Reading by Romolda Bishop Spalding with Walter T. Spalding. The original program was copyrighted in 1957 with updates afterward. The Fourth Revised Edition was copyrighted in 1990. The publisher of the forth revised edition is William Morrow.
- This reading instructional program uses a direct phonics approach. Even if you do not plan on using this program and would rather avoid the rather complex set of program coding and rules, the introduction section is excellent and should be read for informational purposes. She provides valuable background on the phonetic nature of written language and the importance of directly linking writing to reading. The descriptions of handwriting and letter formation are excellent.
Back on the Right Track Reading Lessons: An Effective Step-by-Step Reading Remediation Program for Older Students and Adults by Miscese Gagen Copyright 2006 Published by Right Track Reading LLC.
- The introduction section to this book can be read for free at Preview Program on the Right Track Reading website. The introductory chapters provide an overview of reading, background about the English language, and information on the process of both proficient reading and reading difficulty. The skills necessary for proficient reading are listed and explained. Back on the Right Track Reading Lessons program is a highly effective direct systematic phonics program designed for remediationg older students and adults. It provides easy-to-use tools to help a struggling reader acquire skills and get back on track to proficient reading.
This article was written by Miscese Gagen, a mother with a passion for teaching children to read proficiently by using effective methods. She is also a successful reading tutor and author of the reading instructional programs Right Track Reading Lessons and Back on the Right Track Reading Lessons. The purpose of this article is to empower parents and teachers with information on teaching children how to read. We CAN improve reading proficiency, one student at a time! More information is located at www.righttrackreading.com ~ Copyright 2007 Miscese R. Gagen