Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources

Three Books on How to Teach Reading Strategies

By The SHARE Team

There are countless books to teach reading strategies and they offer varied solutions to the issue. However, three of the best books available to help educators teach reading strategies all focus on similar tactics. “Mosaic of Thought,” “Strategies That Work,” and “Reading with Meaning” each focus on six critical comprehension strategies.

Once student readers master these strategies, these books claim that students will be able to read and comprehend at increased productive levels. This ability will give these students the boost they need to succeed on the reading comprehension portion of standardized tests, and it will help them to become successful students at all levels of their education.

Six comprehension strategies

The six comprehension strategies outlined in these books are:

  • Creating a connection between the reader and the text
  • Encouraging the reader to question the text
  • Allowing the reader to visualize the reading
  • Helping the reader to infer meaning from the words
  • Determining the importance of the story
  • Summarizing while reading

The easiest way for teachers to impart these strategies to their students is to model them while reading classroom assignments. If students see these techniques in action, they will be more likely to use them in their own reading. However, before embracing any of these strategies, teachers may want to learn more about them by reading any or all of these three books.

‘Mosaic of Thought’

“Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader’s Workshop” by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman. When they conceived the idea for this book, Keene and Zimmerman may have had no idea what direction it would take them. Rather than just telling struggling readers how to read better, these authors decided to uncover the secrets behind how proficient readers handled the task. They took a journey through the reading process of proficient readers. They watched, analyzed and interviewed these readers as they tackled poems, essays, classroom readings and more.Then, the authors elaborated on the processes that they saw emerging.

The result of their inquiry was a list of eight cognitive processes–six of which are detailed above. When adopted by struggling or intermediate readers, these processes gave them the boost that they needed to become strong readers who could easily grasp and interpret the text in front of them.

‘Strategies That Work’

“Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding” by Stephanie Harvey. Penned by a lifelong elementary teacher, special education teacher and reading consult, “Strategies That Work” is ideal for helping young readers jump the gap from decoding to actually reading. This book relies on many of the same strategies outlined in “Mosaic of Thought” and it helps teachers take those ideas to the next level.Too many readers can decode fluently, and when reading aloud, they may even sound like they really understand the words in front of them. However, when asked to comprehend, infer, or extend the meaning of the text, they cannot do it.

Strategies outlined in this book will give teachers information on how to help these readers to connect with the words that they are decoding. This is accomplished by using powerful tools that train visualization and inference techniques as well as think aloud strategies. The book is full of lesson plans to help teachers get started, and it has a great list of picture books that teachers can introduce to their students as they work to master these techniques.

‘Reading with Meaning’

“Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades” by Debbie Miller. Anyone who is lucky enough to visit Debbie Miller’s classroom leaves feeling impressed. There, students seem happy and engaged, and the sounds of their reading fill the air. In this book, Miller details how she achieves this feat.She takes the reader on a year-long journey during which she explains how emerging readers can become independent and strong readers.

The book contains instructions on modeling reading strategies, leading productive classroom discussions, and how to hand the responsibility of reading over to the students. Teachers who utilize the strategies and lesson plans outlined in this text will love the results they see in their classrooms, but more importantly, they will love the fact that students will leave their classroom as lifelong readers.

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