It’s often the eclectic activities teachers do, how they determine the best teaching practices for individuals and groups of students, that help students learn.
One of the problems with the Science of Reading is that those who support a narrow often biased focus on instruction, may ignore or cast aside meaningful resources that have helped children be better readers and writers for years!
Emily Hanford focused on the Science of Reading, has been critical of publishing company Heinemann, likely due to dislike of Fountas & Pinnell and Reading Recovery. They seem to believe it has not taught phonics as children need. This has generated debate.
Hanford and SoR supporters, including cognitive psychologists, rarely, if ever, criticize online instructional programs.
But even if one doesn’t care for the programs they reject, Heinemann has published great resources by professionals, especially teachers, who have understood students and how they learn to read and write. These books provide resources that have positively impacted students for years!
It’s sad to think that teachers are being led by a few publishers to focus only on the mechanics of reading, mostly online, while ignoring the creative work students love.
Here are a few authors published through Heinemann that provide excellent resources for students and activities that teach and make classrooms and learning enjoyable.
Writing: Teachers and Children at Work: 20th Anniversary Edition by Donald Graves
Donald Graves’s bio claims he is a pioneer in literacy education who ultimately revolutionized the way that writing is taught in the United States and around the world. See Remembering Donald H. Graves.
Any teacher who had the opportunity to get professional development based on Graves’s ideas for writing saw their classroom instruction improve. When students are the focus, valued for their ideas and helped to showcase their creativity, writing becomes an exciting new endeavor.
This is especially important for students with writing disabilities like dysgraphia who often get instruction that focuses totally on remediation. Learning to enjoy self-expression through writing opens doors for children who never thought they could put sentences together in meaningful ways.
Helping students love writing, improve at it and reading, through creativity, is what helps students blossom. Here are a few examples, not in any particular order.
Middle school teachers who teach English or Language Arts will find a treasure trove of great ideas, reflecting the ideas of Donald Graves, to teach middle schoolers reading and creative writing, from poetry to fiction. It’s the kind of information that engages middle schoolers and makes literature and writing interesting.
Nancie Atwell has written many other books for Heinemann, but this one is my favorite.
In 2015 Nancie won the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize.
Kylene has numerous books about reading instruction, well-researched with instructional solutions that support teachers and their work with students learning to be better readers.
Mary’s work is full of ways to organize classrooms with skills and activities helpful to students in Response to Intervention Tiers. Mary shares valuable ideas in this book (there are others) to engage students. She’s a teacher’s teacher and her work and writings are immeasurably valuable.
The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Serravallo
Jennifer has this and The Writing Strategies Book, and much more published by Heinemann. These books have received excellent reviews and will be a beneficial addition to a teacher’s resource library. The books are filled with enjoyable and worthy activities for students.
Susan has numerous books raising serious concerns about the problems that plague public education, and she was one of the first bloggers to inform us about the devastation surrounding high stakes testing standardization. Heinemann also publishes, for example, One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards.
In addition, Susan has many practitioner books by Heinemann providing great ideas to make teaching and learning interesting for students.
Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use by Stephen Krashen
Stephen D. Krashen, American linguist, educational researcher and activist, and authority on bilingual instruction has many books (at least 300!) about reading that are great to understand students and how they learn, and this book amounts to a summary and assessment of his work surrounding second language acquisition.
I know I’m leaving out other authors, but during this serious time, when teaching is becoming narrow and focused primarily on online instruction, teachers need to remember what makes a classroom tick, and the above books by Heinemann have many ideas worthy of serious study and application in the classroom.