Blogs About Reading

Shanahan on Literacy

Timothy Shanahan

Literacy expert Timothy Shanahan shares best practices for teaching reading and writing. Dr. Shanahan is an internationally recognized professor of urban education and reading researcher who has extensive experience with children in inner-city schools and children with special needs. All posts are reprinted with permission from Shanahan on Literacy.

November 16, 2022

Teacher question: Can you provide clarification on how to promote shared reading in the structured literacy era and how that differs from shared reading in the balanced literacy era.

November 7, 2022

Teacher question: One of my colleagues told us that we should not be teaching guided reading lessons or comprehension skills or strategies. We’re using a core reading program that includes those kinds of things.

October 18, 2022

I’m writing this blog because of the disarray I see over the topic of context instruction and the poor instructional practice that it seems to manifest. One confusion is already well recognized, but merits some mention here. The other befuddlement usually goes without remark, and yet it, too, has unfortunate consequences for young readers.

October 12, 2022

Teacher question: I understand your claims that teaching students with grade-level texts instead of instructional level texts increases children’s opportunities to learn. However, what about children’s emotional needs, self-esteem, motivation, and self-starting skills when text is challenging.

September 26, 2022

Teacher question: I am surprised that you are such a staunch advocate of phonics. English is a very complex language and teaching young children the sounds and letters won’t change that. Most letters and spelling patterns in English are not regular (not only the Dolch words, but lots of other words, too).

September 11, 2022

Teacher question: At my school, the district inservice has made a big deal out of Scarborough’s rope. Nevertheless, when it comes to daily instruction, we (the primary grade teachers) have been told that decoding is the most important thing and that we are to emphasize that.


Reading intervention specialist working one-on-one with an elementary student struggling readers

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox