Building Academic Literacy: Engaging All Learners in Every Classroom

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9781475823264: Building Academic Literacy: Engaging All Learners in Every Classroom

Building Academic Literacy is a coach-in-a-pocket for educators seeking to build strong academic literacy and higher-order thinking. This book is for anyone with responsibility for instruction – teachers, instructional coaches, professional developers, principals, curriculum leaders, teacher preparation faculty. It provides pathways to developing higher-order thinking in every student and setting.

Key to its success is that it connects reading, writing, listening, thinking, and speaking. Readers will find that they can engage all students with content, but more importantly, students will process content in ways appropriate to a particular subject. They also develop independent learning skills -- exactly what the Common Core State Standards call for.

The text is engaging yet practical and practicable – grounded and useful to teachers in enacting more student-centered classrooms. Its strategies serve to actively engage all students in high-level thinking and learning, those who have always found school easy and those who have not. Not a prescription, but a book designed to deepen individual and group teacher competencies to implement learning strategies in new ways and to continually refine and develop their craft.

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About the Author:

Janet Angelis was a classroom teacher early in her career. She has devoted the latter part of her career to linking the worlds of research and practice. She has authored or coauthored numerous articles for practitioners, researchers, and the public and with Kristen Wilcox is the author of two books about effective practices.

Karen Polsinelli taught social studies at the upper elementary and middle level for more than 30 years. She is an experienced writer, presenter, and professional developer in a variety of research-based strategies for improving student learning.

Eija Rougle earned a PhD. in language and education and has been coaching teachers for over a decade; with Mary Adler, she is coauthor of Building Literacy through Classroom Discussion. She is a frequent speaker on language and literacy and is multi-lingual.

Johanna Shogan taught English language arts at the secondary level for 35 years and received recognized in Who’s Who among America’s Teachers. She has served as an officer of the New York State English Council and is a contributing writer for The Storytelling Classroom.

Review:

Building Academic Literacy provides teachers and instructional leaders with pedagogical strategies that promote academic literacy and higher-order thinking skills. The authors bill the text as a ‘coach-in-pocket,’ in which they make suggestions, explain why the suggestions should work, and ask questions to help readers reflect on teaching and learning and troubleshoot if necessary. Chapters are written in an accessible manner with explanations of each topic; examples drawn from classrooms, which vary by grade and subject; suggestions of specific strategies to use that engage learners in disciplined thinking; and prompts to help readers reflect on implementation. All activities discussed are meant to purposefully engage learners in developing knowledge and/or skills. The authors are clearly concerned about always engaging every student in learning, promoting higher-order thinking, and further developing language skills. This book is recommended for pre-service teachers, teacher-practitioners, and school leaders who are interested in finding ways to guide students to higher levels of thinking, help them use literacy more effectively, and take greater ownership of their learning. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through practitioners. (CHOICE)

[T]he authors describe gradual, purposeful ways to build a mindset and atmosphere that revolve around well-planned questioning, carefully chosen materials, student-driven discussion, and mutual discovery.... [T]his well-researched book offers some worthwhile ideas about the nature of teaching and learning. (Mathematics Teacher)

This book is absolutely needed, as evidence suggests that large percentages of teachers are still wrestling with engagement, deep thinking and the development of literacy within their classrooms and students. I see this first as a resource for classroom teachers. (Lynn Lisy-Macan, PhD., visiting assistant professor, Educational Administration and Policy, University at Albany)


Now that I’m supervising student teachers, I see the need for more discussion and deeper thinking in all the classes I visit. The book is grounded in research, with practical strategies that can be used in the classroom. (Kathy Nickson, supervisor of student teachers for SUNY Oneonta and Empire State College)

I like that the ideas and topics are 'doable' and not a lot of philosophical without practical application. . . . This text is applicable to teachers new to envisionments and ones who have been utilizing the strategies over the years. . . . Having strategies that are engaging and move students forward in their learning is what makes teaching interesting and fun. (Kathy Cotugno-Surin, National Board Certified Teacher, Niskayuna, NY)

I like the format in that it combines the rationale with practical/practicable implications. (Kevin Kelly, principal, Ryder Elementary School, Cobleskill, NY)

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