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.

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.

August 16, 2022

Awhile back, I posted an opinion piece calling for the explicit teaching of sentence comprehension. With schools aiming to expose kids to complex text, it would seem that such instruction would be de rigueur.

August 8, 2022

Teacher question: What do you think of the jigsaw method for organizing the reading in a science or social studies class? I teach 5th grade in a suburban school. Shanahan’s response:

July 18, 2022

Teacher question: My question is regarding comprehension as it relates to solving math word problems.


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