1st Edition

Literacy Essentials Engagement, Excellence and Equity for All Learners

By Regie Routman Copyright 2018

    In her practical and inspirational book, Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for All Learners, author Regie Routman guides K-12 teachers to create a trusting, intellectual, and equitable classroom culture that allows all learners to thrive as self-directed readers, writers, thinkers, and responsible citizens.

    Over the course of three sections, Routman provides numerous Take Action ideas for implementing authentic and responsive teaching, assessing, and learning. This book poses a key question: How do we rise to the challenge of providing an engaging, excellent, equitable education for all learners, including those from high poverty and underserved schools?

    Teaching for Engagement: Many high performing schools are characterized by a a thriving school culture built on a network of authentic communication. Teachers can strengthen classroom engagement by building a trusting and welcoming environment where all students can have a safe and collaborative space to grow and develop.

    Pursuing Excellence: Routman identifies 10 key factors that describe an excellent teacher, ranging from intellectual curiosity to creativity, and explains how carrying yourself as a role model contributes to an inclusive, caring, empathic, and fair classroom. She also stresses the importance for school leaders to make job-embedded professional development a top priority.

    Dismantling Unequal Education: The huge gap in the quality of education in high vs low income communities is the civil rights issue of the 21st century, according to Routman. She spells out specific actions educators can take to create more equitable schools and classrooms, such as diversifying texts used in curriculums and ensuring all students have access to opportunities to discuss, reflect, and engage with important ideas.

    From the author, I wrote Literacy Essentials, because I saw a need to simplify teaching, raise expectations, and make expert teaching possible for all of us. I saw a need to emphasize how a school culture of kindness, trust, respect, and curiosity is essential to any lasting achievement. I saw a need to demonstrate and discuss how and why the beliefs, actions, knowledge we hold determine the potential for many of our students. Equal opportunity to learn depends on a culture of engagement and equity, which under lies a relentless pursuit of excellence.

    Introduction: Letter to My Colleagues; Engagement; Engagement 1: Developing Trusting Relationships; Engagement 2: Celebrating Learners; Engagement 3: Creating a Thriving Learning Environment; Engagement 4: Teaching with Purpose and Authenticity; Excellence; Excellence 1: Embedding Professional Learning; Excellence 2: Expert Teaching Through Frontloading; Excellence 3: Listening, Speaking, and Questioning; Excellence 4: Embracing the Reading-Writing Connection; Excellence 5: Teaching Readers; Excellence 6: Teaching Writers; Equity; Equity 1: Making High Expectations an Instructional Reality; Equity 2: Reaching All Learners; Equity 3: Applying Responsible Assessment; Equity 4: Developing Self-determining Learners; Equity 5: Advocating for Students


    Regie Routman is a longtime teacher, leader, coach, and author who is committed to improving the literacy and learning lives of students, especially those in high-challenge schools. She currently works on-site in diverse schools and districts coaching and mentoring principals, teachers, and educators at all levels. For information on her many books and resources, see www.regieroutman.org.