1st Edition

Teaching Readers (Not Reading) Moving Beyond Skills and Strategies to Reader-Focused Instruction

By Peter Afflerbach Copyright 2022

    Reading instruction is too often grounded in a narrowly defined "science of reading" that focuses exclusively on cognitive skills and strategies. Yet cognition is just one aspect of reading development. This book guides K-8 educators to understand and address other scientifically supported factors that influence each student's literacy learning, including metacognition, motivation and engagement, social–emotional learning, self-efficacy, and more. Peter Afflerbach uses classroom vignettes to illustrate the broad-based nature of student readers’ growth, and provides concrete suggestions for instruction and assessment. The book's utility is enhanced by end-of-chapter review questions and activities and a reproducible tool, the Healthy Readers Profile, which can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2" x 11" size.

    I. Teaching Reading or Teaching Readers?: Moving Beyond a Focus on Strategies and Skills
    1. Why Teaching Readers Is Different from Teaching Reading
    2. Experiencing Cognition, Affect, and Conation in Our Reading
    3. Critical Concepts: Definitions and Descriptions
    4. Teaching Readers: A History of Knowing Better Than We Are Doing
    5. Testing, the Media, and the “Science of Reading”
    II. Teaching Readers: Examining the Factors That Influence Reading Development and Reading Achievement
    6. Introduction to the “Other” Factors That Matter in Students’ Reading Development and Achievement
    7. Metacognition, Executive Functioning, and Mindfulness
    8. Self-Efficacy
    9. Motivation and Engagement
    10. Attributions and Growth Mindsets
    11. Epistemology and Epistemic Beliefs
    12. Conclusions
    Appendix. Healthy Readers Profile


    Peter Afflerbach, PhD, is Professor of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests include individual differences in reading, reading comprehension, and reading assessment. Dr. Afflerbach has served on National Academy of Education and National Academy of Sciences committees related to literacy and is a member of the 2025 Reading Framework Committee of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. He was elected to the International Literacy Association’s Reading Hall of Fame in 2009, and he is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. Dr. Afflerbach has published in numerous theoretical and practical journals. Prior to his university career, he served as a Chapter 1 remedial reading teacher and as a middle school reading and writing teacher.

    "The title of this groundbreaking book says it all, affirming that educators must abandon a slavish loyalty to a prepackaged curriculum in pursuit of what is unique about each child—and that skills are not enough. Beyond attending to the cognitive skills that allow students to decode accurately, read fluently, comprehend, and even critique text, we as educators must also embrace the things that ignite and sustain readers in their quest for meaning. To truly understand readers, we must attend to the will and the thrill of reading along with the skill. Afflerbach shows us how."--P. David Pearson, PhD, Evelyn Lois Corey Emeritus Professor of Instructional Science, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley

    “This book offers a much-needed turn from focusing on the singular 'science of reading' to considering the multiple factors that are critical to developing healthy readers. The book helps teachers across grade levels to reflect on their practice and address the dynamic, interactive influences on students' developmental trajectories. It describes practical classroom-based assessments, including the valuable, easy-to-use Healthy Readers Profile."--Kathryn Champeau, MS, reading specialist/literacy consultant; past president, Wisconsin State Reading Association

    "Afflerbach shares his deep understanding of how readers learn in this brilliantly organized book. He helps classroom teachers, interventionists, and all educators to broaden their knowledge of reading and learning so that they can do the very best for every child. In order to individualize and personalize learning, we must consider the myriad factors that influence reading development and achievement, and recognize the assets each learner possesses. Afflerbach's discussions of metacognition, self-efficacy, motivation, and engagement will guide teachers to make a significant shift in their understanding. Written by a masterful teacher, this book is essential reading."--Adria Klein, PhD, Director, Comprehensive Literacy Center, Kalmanovitz School of Education, Saint Mary’s College of California-