1st Edition

Reading Success for Struggling Adolescent Learners

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ISBN 9781593856762
Published May 15, 2008 by Guilford Press
352 Pages

USD $39.00

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Book Description

Comprehensive, up to date, and highly practical, this volume discusses factors that affect struggling readers in grades 7-12 and provides research-based strategies for improving their reading and writing skills. Chapters from leading authorities examine why some adolescents have trouble achieving reading proficiency, describe schoolwide policies and programs that support literacy, and suggest age-appropriate classroom practices for promoting reading success. The book shows how literacy skills and strategies can be incorporated into instruction in all areas of the curriculum. Essential topics include assessment; building core competencies, such as fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary; and working with struggling adolescent English language learners.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Susan Lenski and Jill Lewis

I. Understanding Struggling Adolescent Readers

1 What Do We Know about the Adolescent Learner and What Does It Mean for Literacy Instruction?, Jill Lewis and Avivah Dahbany

2. Struggling Adolescent Readers: Problems and Possibilities, Susan Lenski

3. Nurturing Resilience among Adolescent Readers, Alfred W. Tatum and Teresa A. Fisher

4. Teaching Adolescent English Language Learners, Fabiola P. Ehlers-Zavala

II. Organizing Classroom Contexts That Promote Literacy

5 The Role of Technology in Supporting Struggling Readers, Dana Grisham and Thomas DeVere Wolsey

6. Engaging Struggling Adolescent Readers in Conversations about Texts: Instructional Strategies for Successful Experiences, Kathleen Crawford-McKinney and Kattie Hogan

7. Making Time for Independent Reading, Susan Lenski and Erexenia Lanier

III. Implementing Classroom Instruction for Struggling Adolescent Readers

8. Fluency Strategies for Struggling Adolescent Readers, Gay Fawcett and Timothy Rasinski

9. Comprehension Strategies that Make a Difference for Struggling Readers, Micki M. Caskey

10. Vocabulary Strategies for Struggling Readers, Margaret Ann Richek and Becky McTague

11. Classroom Instruction for Struggling Writers, Leif Fearn and Nancy Farnan

12. Teaching from a Critical Literacy Perspective and Encouraging Social Action, Susan Lenski

IV. Developing Schoolwide Contexts to Support Achievement

13 Meaningful Assessment of Struggling Adolescent Readers, Peter Afflerbach

14. Literacy Coaching at the Middle School/High School Levels, Rita Bean

15. Keeping Parents Involved in Their Children’s Education during the Middle and High School Years, Laurie Elish-Piper

16. “But I’m Not Going to College!”: Developing Adolescents’ Literacy for the 21st-Century Workplace, Jill Lewis

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Susan Lenski, EdD, is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University, where she teaches graduate reading and language arts courses. Previously, Dr. Lenski taught school for 20 years, working with children from kindergarten through high school. During her years as a teacher, she was awarded the Nila Banton Smith Award from the International Reading Association (IRA) for integrating reading in content-area classes and was instrumental in leading her school to receive an Exemplary Reading Program Award. Dr. Lenski was inducted into the Illinois Reading Hall of Fame in 1999, and she served on the IRA Board of Directors from 2004 to 2007. Her research interests focus on strategic reading and writing, adolescent literacy, preparing teacher candidates, and social justice education. She has published more than 65 articles and 14 books.


Jill Lewis, EdD, is Professor of Literacy Education at New Jersey City University, where she teaches graduate courses in reading, and reading development courses to underprepared freshmen. Previously she taught high school English and reading in public schools and at a community college. Dr. Lewis is a past member of the IRA’s Board of Directors (2004 to 2007), chaired IRA’s Government Relations Committee, is an IRA Volunteer Education Consultant for a secondary school literacy project in Macedonia, and volunteered in IRA’s Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking project. She served on several state-level task forces, including the New Jersey Task Force on Middle School Literacy, and co-chaired New Jersey’s Task Force for Curriculum Framework for Language Arts Literacy. Dr. Lewis was a Princeton University Faculty Fellow for policy studies and directed community leadership programs in New Jersey. The New Jersey Reading Association awarded her its Distinguished Service Award in 2002. She has authored numerous articles on adolescent literacy, professional development, advocacy, and content-area reading, and has published several books.


"Major changes in instruction and infrastructure must occur to address the literacy challenges of adolescents and the increased literacy demands placed on them. This book can help these changes to happen. Thorough, hopeful, and proactive, the book takes up both enduring and emerging issues and offers fresh perspectives that are cognizant of current realities and constraints. This book deserves to be read by teachers, administrators, and teacher educators."--Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, PhD, Department of English, and Director, Boise State Writing Project, Boise State University

"With the advent of long-overdue federal attention to adolescent readers through Reading Next, Lenski and Lewis's book is appearing at just the right time! The volume provides an excellent overview of theoretical and practical issues related to working with adolescents who struggle with literacy. Besides offering sound, research-based ideas for instructional strategies, it also deals with often-overlooked issues, such as working with parents of adolescents and building home/n-/school connections at this critical age. The chapter on supporting upper-level literacy coaches is especially welcome. This book should be on the bookshelf of everyone who works with adolescent striving readers."--Camille Blachowicz, PhD, Director, The Reading Center, National-Louis University

"An invaluable tool for understanding and helping the adolescent learner. The contributors are exceptional literacy scholars who provide an excellent blend of theory and practice as they examine the reading, writing, and learning challenges of struggling adolescents. I will keep this book readily accessible on my bookshelf and would recommend it to teacher educators, researchers, and practitioners. As theprincipal of a private school for troubled teens, I am going to use chapters from this book in our weekly teacher study group."--Carol M. Santa, PhD, Director of Education, Montana Academy, Marion, Montana

"No literacy issue is more pressing than addressing the learning needs of adolescent students. Fully a third of teens are suffering from reading problems--this book offers a wide array of practical solutions."--Timothy Shanahan, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Chicago

"This volume provides a comprehensive treatment of the topic, complete with promising practices. It is a wonderful resource for anyone concerned with the fate of older struggling readers."--Richard L. Allington, PhD, Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, University of Tennessee