Readers, Teachers, and Learners: Expanding Literacy Across the Content Areas (4th Edition)

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9780130978554: Readers, Teachers, and Learners: Expanding Literacy Across the Content Areas (4th Edition)

This book is based on the premise that literacy is, at its core, a social process; and that, as such, it is often affected—for good or ill—by social situations and cultural/social relationships. With that philosophical construct in mind, these authors provide a solid foundation of principles and a wealth of applications for developing literacy skills in middle school and secondary school learners. Coverage encompasses comprehension, vocabulary, writing skills, study strategies, and the use of computer technology. For elementary and high school teachers.

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About the Author:

William G. Brozo is a professor of language and literacy at the University of Tennessee. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina and his master's and doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He has taught reading and language arts in junior and senior high school in the Carolinas. He is the author of numerous articles on literacy development for young adults as well as To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader (International Reading Association), a book of strategies for helping teen and preteen males become active readers. Dr. Brozo serves on the editorial review boards of the Reading Research Quarterly and Reading Research and Instruction and the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. He is also a member of the Commission on Adolescent Literacy. Dr. Brozo regularly speaks at professional meetings around the country and consults with teachers and administrators to discuss ways of enriching the literacy culture of middle and secondary schools and making teaching more responsive to student needs.

Bill lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife and daughter and their standard poodle, Teddy. He is an aficionado of opera and Renaissance music and drama. He runs daily to stay fit.

Michele L. Simpson is a professor of reading at the University of Georgia where she teaches learning strategy courses to undergraduates and instructional methods courses to doctoral students across a wide spectrum of academic disciplines such as chemistry, biology, history, and mathematics. After receiving her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Northern Iowa, she taught speech, reading, and language arts to students in junior and senior highs in Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. In Iowa she was recognized as the Reading Teacher of the Year, the first secondary teacher to win such an award. Michele has co-authored two textbooks on learning strategies and vocabulary development and has contributed numerous chapters to edited books such as the Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. 3). In addition to making presentations at national and international conferences, she has published more than 50 articles in journals such as the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and the Journal of Literacy Research. She keeps current with the demands of public schools by collaborating with her husband, a middle school language arts teacher, and by consulting with school systems such as Winter Park High School in Orange County, Florida.

Michele lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband and Siamese cat named Red Chief (if you know O'Henry, the author, you understand the cat's name). When she is not teaching or writing, she enjoys running, biking, and maintaining her Hatha Yoga regime.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

In every case, it is the reader who reads the sense, it is the reader who grants or recognizes in an object, place or event a certain possible readability, it is the reader who must attribute meaning to a system of signs, and then decipher it. We all read ourselves and the world around us in order to glimpse what and where we are. We read to understand, or to begin to understand. We cannot do but read. Reading, almost as much as breathing, is our essential function.
— Alberto Manguel (1996)

Those of us who "cannot do but read" are part of a culture of letters dating from the first Sumerian tablets of the fifth millennium B.C. to Greek scrolls; from the codices of St. Augustine to CD-ROMs. Every word read is part of a history of language and sense filled with tales of anarchy, censorship, triumph, and passion. To read and write, then, is to become part of that history and, moreover, to learn from the voices of the past.

Just as the printing press and mass production of books, plays, and pamphlets revolutionized conceptions of literacy in the Renaissance, today new communications technologies are changing the ways we think about what it means to be literate. At the same time, researchers are calling attention to social, cultural, and multicultural dimensions of literacy, leading many to assert that literacy should no longer be defined as mere reading and writing but something much more complex, fluid, and multifaceted. In this new edition of Readers, Teachers, Learners we draw significant inspiration from current theorizing about multiple literacies. This is done while continuing to show deference to and honor the lifeworlds of middle and secondary school teachers who struggle daily to make their instruction more responsive to the needs of young adults.

Acknowledging that each literate act has historical, sociological, political, and cultural connections, we remain true in this edition to the primary thrust of the three that have come before it, which has been to emphasize the importance of traditional print literacy as a foundation for discourse flexibility and critical thinking. We were reminded recently of how far our sophisticated literate sensibilities can take us after reading descriptions by successful women of their earliest memories of critical book experiences (Copper-Mullin & Coye, 1998). Books about Madeline, the Cat in the Hat, Gigi the Merry-Go-Round Horse, and the Bobbsey Twins marked entry points into literacy for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Civil Rights activist Ruby Bridges, NASA astronaut Dr. Ellen Baker, and Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. From the first stirrings of excitement brought about by these print encounters as children, they have traveled vast distances from their points of entry on a transformative journey of self-discovery and professional accomplishment. It is this same journey we hope all young adults are offered the opportunity to take. It is a journey that cannot be short-circuited, as each of us knows who began so modestly down our own literate paths. And now after years of traditional print explorations we have come to appreciate the true benefits of our literate journeys—expanded consciousness, discourse flexibility, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to read and understand the stories, histories, and philosophies of the ages.

To confer the bounties of expansive literacy ability and sustain and engage today's middle and secondary students in reading and writing is no mean feat. Adolescents have grown up in a world in which information is electronically and visually mediated—so much so that the very need for print literacy is becoming increasingly challenged. We agree with Stephen Hearst (1998) who notes:

  • Pictures work supremely well as symbols and expressions of our deepest feelings, but language is the indispensable tool in the exercise of reason, in the precise expression of thought. The need to state the obvious is itself a symptom of how images have taken over ground precisely held by language. And in a mature democracy, where every vote carries equal weight, the achievement of critical literacy, the ability to judge and weigh the truth or falsity of things, is not merely desirable, it is of the essence. (p. 101)

We expand in this book on the position taken in previous editions that alternative information sources and traditional literacy can be complementary. Students should be guided to read critically so they can view critically.

Revising Readers, Teachers, Learners continues to be a labor of love for us since reading is our passion. The exhilaration of residing in the world between a book's covers is all the incentive we need to return to this pastime each and every day. We know all too well, however, that countless American adults and youths habitually avoid reading. Gustave Flaubert said, "Read in order to live," but too many among us are choosing to live without reading. To be a nonreader in today's perplexing, information-laden world brings serious consequences. Beyond the more intangible benefits of regular reading, nonreaders lose reading skills, are less capable of understanding complex text, may be less likely to access higher education or find well-paying jobs, and may fail to impart positive values of literacy to their children. Being an active reader, on the other hand, can expand life and career options and enlarge one's sense of self.

This book, as with each of its predecessors, is about widening life and career options for students in the middle and upper grades through literacy. We make one overarching assertion in this book: Teachers of all subjects can create engaging learning environments where readers and learners use literacy for personal pleasure, as a tool for academic achievement, and to expand critical consciousness. To demonstrate the viability of this assertion we continue in this fourth edition to communicate to teachers through teachers. With fresh and exciting reading, writing, and literacy research as a backdrop, we have tried in a collaborative spirit to empower teachers with the confidence to make their own best decisions about the learning that goes on in their classrooms. As in our previous three editions, we have made a serious effort to avoid prescribing, offering "canned" answers, or making injunctions that demand certain behaviors from content-area teachers. To do so would be to ignore the realities and exigencies teachers must face in the everyday world of middle and secondary school.

We hope another vital message of the book has been made more vivid in this edition: that teachers inform us as much as we inform them. In a very real sense, the growth and improvement of adolescents' language processes will depend on the strength of the transactions between teachers in higher education and teachers in public schools.

In this edition we present even more actual teaching scenarios than in the first, second, and third editions, including additional examples from content areas such as math, science, art, music, and kinesiology. In each of the scenarios we demonstrate the valuable lessons to be learned from content-area teachers struggling and succeeding as they implement stimulating reading, writing, and learning strategies. Theory and research frame these vignettes and examples, which provide glimpses of teachers making literacy and content acquisition work.

IMPORTANT UPDATES AND NEW FEATURES

Anyone familiar with our previous editions will immediately notice some major revisions in this book in both format and content.

Format

  • Expanded Marginal Gloss—The notes in the margins that signal important content and ideas are fuller and have been improved upon by the addition of references to our book's website. At this site, readers will find a variety of supporting information, such as useful Internet sites (see description that follows).
  • Revised Anticipation Guides—The statements in these interactive guides have been revised to reflect changes in chapter content. Asking readers of our book to fill in the guides before each chapter and then return to the guides after reading and studying each chapter offers direct experience with a strategy we strongly advocate teachers use with their own students.

Content

  • A New Companion Website—Accompanying this new edition is a user-friendly website that provides readers a variety of helpful resources. Within each chapter, marginal gloss directs readers to the website where readers may access chapter objectives, discussion questions; links to other helpful Internet sites, and other relevant links.
  • New "Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners in the Content-Area Classroom" Segments—New to this edition and appearing throughout most chapters are special boxed features entitled "Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners in the Content Area Classroom:" This boxed material describes content-area teachers working with students who have extra learning needs. Our goal with this approach is to help reinforce the idea that struggling adolescent readers/learners are deserving of responsive instruction in every classroom. As a consequence of placing students with reading and learning differences directly within the context of regular classroom instruction, a separate chapter for these students was no longer necessary.
  • More Actual Teaching Vignettes—By incorporating material from what was a separate chapter for struggling readers and learners throughout the book, we have been able to reduce the total number of chapters while expanding and enriching the 11 that comprise this pew edition. A benefit to readers has been an increase in the number and type of actual teaching situations, scenarios, and vignettes, making it easier to envision application of the strategies we present.
  • Updated Chapter on Technology—As developments in school-based applications of information and communication...

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