When Kids Can't Read: What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12 Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-08-25 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 83 user ratings

"I really enjoy reading Kylene Beers' work. I've read her book on Adolescent Literacy before this one, and I find the advice she gives to be practical and useful in the classroom. It feels kind of silly to me that I read this book at the very end of my reading specialist training, as it basically outlines what I've wanted to know all along. She doesn't get overly-theoretical or philosophical, and she doesn't blame kids reading problems on broader social issues. She just gives you practical strategies to use in the classroom if you have a struggling reader, which I feel can benefit any teacher. " said.

"I actually didn't quite finish this; just slightly over halfway read. It was ok; but I'm hardly motivated to finish it right now. There's some good ideas; but I've read better educational materials. The author was a little wordy and there were elements that eventually had me skimming through. Like beginning each chapter with a letter to an old student she regrets not having helped more. (Those got old after one chapter.) And the "what it would look like" scenarios for using a particular strategy. Those were long and somewhat tedious, and I kept thinking to myself that my students--as struggling readers--would never discuss literature like that." said.

"This book was fantastic, I only wish I had read it years ago. Written in a very straight forward style, Beers is very relatable. Her book is packed with strategies that could be implemented immediately in any classroom. I admit that at times her letters to "George" seemed a little contrived, but they added a personal element to the book and forced you to think about students in your own class. I would recommend this to anyone who teaches readers. This is one of the few textbooks that held my attention from beginning to end. This will definitely be a valuable resource as I continue in my career." said.

"This book was a great "shot-in-the-arm" for me!! My present postiion is the Librarain in a Middle School, but I feel like I still wear my "reading teacher" hat - thanks to being able to collaborate with the reading teachers in my building. This book is so easy to read and understand - I'm thinking about having my night class students read parts of it. My favorite quote showed up on p.287 -"As one young man told me once about tough books, "I want to meet these characters on the pages of a book before I have to meet them in real life. In a book, if it gets too intense, I can just walk away; in real life, I probably won't have that option."

If you teach in a Middle/High School setting READ THIS BOOK!
" said.

"A must read for every teacher-the title indicates that this is a guide for teachers of grades 6-12. I disagree. The author cites specific strategies and instructional practices to use in the teaching of reading - no matter what grade you teach. "We must, at all times, remember that we don't teach a subject, we teach you-specific children with specific needs. And there's not a teacher out there who doesn't know you. You come from all nations, from all ethnic groups, as a boy or girl. You are from rich families and poor families. You've seen parents divorce, siblings leave home, and grandparents die. You speak many languages. You go to school in small towns and large cities. You steal our hearts, make us cry, help us laugh, and keep us up late at night wondering how we can help."" said.

"This book has been amazing. I have used many of the strategies in my 5th grade reading classroom, of which almost every student was academically behind several grade levels at the beginning of the year. I wish I had known of this book earlier, and I'm sure the gains my students made had been even greater. This book is well-organized and focuses on activities students truly enjoy. I appreciated the personal touch of Kylene's experiences with a student she feels she failed through letters to him. It really helped me reflect on my own shortcomings and seek another way of reaching students of great dependence and low motivation. Another fantastic aspect of the book is the use of real classroom dialogue and examples. I even used these to help the students visualize how an activity would look by letting them see the examples. Overall, excellent resource I will be using for years to come!" said.

"This is an excellent practical guide on how to teach reading comprehension, vocabulary-building, and decoding strategies to middle and high school students--especially if (like me) you have a lot of content knowledge but aren't quite clear on how to teach kids the most basic aspects of reading. Essentially a cookbook for English teachers, When Kids Can't Read not only offers specific strategies (often involving graphic organizers or outright picture creation, like "Vocabulary Trees" and the "Somebody Wanted But So" chart) for helping kids to see and to understand what they are reading, it also features several chapters focused on decoding skills and word recognition, for those of us with students who read on a first or second grade level. I found this book truly illuminating, and am hoping that its strategies will improve my pedagogy--and help my students!-- as I continue my student teaching." said.

"This is now my Bible. It's amazing. It gives so many suggestions to teachers who have kids who struggle with reading. I'd recommend this for any English teacher (even high school English teachers-- because, as Dr. Beers points out, there are many upper-grade students who have trouble reading because no one has yet taught them how to do it). But I'd also recommend it for teachers of any subject, along with parents, aunts, uncles, and anyone who is around children or has the least bit of interest in education. Dr. Beers opened up my eyes to so many problems that kids have that I never even considered. I seriously cried at the end of it. I never do that with a book. Here's a sample of some of the progressive and influential advice she gives:

"Teaching to a single test requires little effort on our part, but such teaching gives students a diminished educational experience. Instead, we want to create lifelong learners who embrace curiosity, who enjoy analyzing ambiguity, and who view education as a journey that isn't about offering the single correct answer but instead is about asking the thoughtful question."

Wow. Just, wow.
" said.

September 2018 New Book:

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