When Kids Can’t Read, What Teachers Can Do

by Kylene Beers

Heinemann, 2003

The author dedicates this book to three people: her mother, one of her teachers, and George, one of her former students. She writes about her inability to truly address George’s needs when he was in her class and speculates about how she could have helped him if she had known then what she knows now about reading. The author puts her personal touch on the content of this book as she relates stories from her own classroom and includes the reactions of her own students.

Dr. Beers describes what she calls "independent readers" and "dependent readers" and spends a portion of the book describing what good readers do and explaining ways to help dependent readers do the same. She also describes in detail many reading interventions including the Tea Party, Anticipation Guides, Think Alouds, and KWL – just to name a few. Each time she records her students’ reactions to the strategy and she debriefs after each one. The chapter that deals with inferences is particularly helpful to teachers because this is often a difficult topic to teach. The book also contains wonderful charts that list how a student might behave while reading and offers suggestions about what a teacher can do to help that particular student.

This is the kind of book that you will refer to again and again. If you are looking for a book that is filled with research-based reading interventions and great ideas about teaching reading, this is the book for you.

Submitted by Lorene Reid

Mid-Rivers Area Council

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