What I’m reading about reading

A stack of books about reading

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The thing about reading researchers is they just write so much. It’s like they expect reading experts to read constantly or something! I have a long and growing list of books to read about reading and writing. From time to time, I plan to share some highlights on the blog.

Information comes in many forms

Books

There are so many books just here in my little office. I have books from courses I took, books that changed my reading life, and books that I know are important that I can’t quite bring myself to pick up. So the ones I’ve chosen here are just a couple that stand out in my mind. If you’re curious about how reading works and how to help the readers in your life, any of these would be a great investment of your time.

  • How We Learn by Stanislas Dehaene is a pretty heavy read about how our brain processes information and how learning to do something like read and write changes the way different parts of the brain are used. It’s not an easy read by any means but it gave me a lot of “aha” moments about why certain kinds of teaching work the way they do.
  • Speech to Print by Louisa Moats. I read this during my Orton-Gillingham training but when the new edition came out, I picked it up right away. 
  • Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf – this is the most readable of my current recommendations. It’s laid out as a series of letters on different aspects of reading. Wolf explores reading as a technology (our brains weren’t designed to read, but our brains have done an incredible job accommodating our new habit of reading and writing language) and what it means to read on a screen instead of on paper. It’s thought-provoking and very readable for the non-expert.

Blogs

I click links all week long and have a pile of blogs and research to read. But these are sources I look at consistently. 

  • Tim Shanahan – Dr. Shanahan is my go-to source for evidence-based, common-sense, interpretations of reading research and instructional trends. 
  • Fordham Institute’s Flypaper Blog – I often disagree with their conclusions, but I think it’s important to look at education data through another lens and I often learn new things.
  • Margaret Goldberg’s Right to Read blog – I was recently introduced to Margaret Goldberg when she was interviewed on Science of Reading – The Podcast. I haven’t been reading her blog for very long, but every post I’ve read has answered a need I’ve had as a teacher or a reading tutor. This post on questions to ask about the reading instruction at your child’s school is very readable and pure gold!

If you want to chat about some nerdy books about reading and learning, come check out my new Deep Roots Learning Solutions Book Club. We’ll chat on Facebook about our books. Right now, we’re reading Deep Work by Cal Newport.

Social Media

Text (Write down the words if you cannot easily formulate sentences.)

  • The Literacy Nest – Emily Gibbons is an Orton-Gillingham tutor as well as a prodigious creator of resources for literacy teaching. Everything she posts gives me something to use or something to think about.
  • Science of Reading-What I Should Have Learned in College is a Facebook group that does just what it says: give teachers, parents and other stakeholders a platform to get their questions about reading answered and gather resources to make reading instruction better for students. The group is professional and kind and inspiring! There are lots of posts to wade through but it’s one I always take the time to check.
  • Lindbergh: Leaders in Literacy is a Facebook page run by parents in a school district in Missouri. They advocate for strengthening literacy in their schools by “embracing the science behind reading instruction.” This is a great example of what community advocacy can do for reading and a wonderful resource for parents just digging into the science of reading. 

You have to start somewhere

I have trouble starting a book, or even committing to an article, podcast, or video sometimes. I have limited time for professional development and I know that once I start learning something exciting, I won’t want to stop to feed my kids or tutor my students. I also don’t want to waste time reading the wrong thing – something repetitive, out of date, or not detailed enough. 

So here’s my advice to me, and also to any of you that are interestd in learning about reading. Just. Start. Pick something from this blog post or pick one source like Reading Rockets and start to get your feet wet. One resource always leads to another. And you can come back here for more recommendations next month, too!

Want some reading company? Join us in the Deep Roots Learning Solutions Book Club!

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