About reading

Darn hard work: Working with struggling readers

Working with struggling readers is darn hard work. Progress is slow, and it takes an enormous amount of effort. Really concerted, dedicated, sustained effort. The students I work with usually make me want to bang my head against a wall out of frustration and leap across the room for joy, and that's within a 45 minute tutoring session!

A new friend in reading: AdLit.org

I once heard Connie Juel, a prominent researcher in early reading, describe an interview with a struggling fourth-grade student. Connie had spent four years following a group of students who, in first grade, had been identified as at risk. She was wrapping up her longitudinal study, asking them how they felt about reading. "Reading?" one boy said. "I hate it. I'd rather clean a bathtub."

What sounds to teach when?

I'm often asked what the best sequence is for teaching letter sounds. From the work done by the National Reading Panel, we know that systematic and explicit phonics programs teach children letter–sound relationships directly in a well-defined and predetermined sequence.

Most systematic phonics programs sequence phonics generalizations from least difficult to more difficult. Even still, there are lots of programs that teach letter sounds using lots of different sequences.

What's Hot, What's Not in Reading for 2007

The International Reading Association published their 11th Annual "What's Hot" survey . If you haven't looked at this survey before, the results reflect the opinions of 25 literacy leaders; each respondent is asked to rate a topic as "hot" or "not hot," and then asked whether the topic "should be hot" or "should not be hot," (summary chart here.)


"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges