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.

July 15, 2020

Teacher question: Our school uses XXXXXXX [widely used commercial program] in the primary grades to teach fluency. I don’t like it because so many children can read fluently but don’t understand what they are reading. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on reading comprehension? Shanahan's response:

September 6, 2016

Blast from the Past: This entry was first issued on September 6, 2016 and it was reissued on June 27, 2020. This week several readers on social media have reposted some of my earlier writings on teaching with complex text, and this month American Educator published a new article of mine on this topic.

June 23, 2020

Teacher question: You say that one-quarter or one-fifth of the reading instruction time should be spent on oral reading fluency. But I teach kindergarten and most of my kids can’t read, so fluency instruction doesn’t make any sense. What should I do instead? Shanahan's response:

June 16, 2020

Teacher question: Could you recommend a strong vocabulary curriculum that my school could adopt? Shanahan's response: Because I work with various companies, I never recommend particular programs.

June 12, 2020

Teacher question: I very much like your idea of teaching students to read with grade-level books. However, I’ve always taught with guided reading groups, trying to match my students to books that they can already read reasonably well. I don’t know how to go about what you are recommending. Help! Shanahan's response:

May 26, 2020

I’m in Chicago in the 10th week of pandemic confinement. Even in states that are opening up, the schools are still closed, and some may remain closed in the fall. One suspects that there may be future extended school closings as well as this insidious virus works its way through our communities. There is no research literature on education and pandemics.


"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass