Book Review: When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do

Book Review

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

by Kylene Beers


When Kids Can’t Read-What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12 is a comprehensive text for teachers wishing to improve the reading skills, confidence and attitudes of struggling secondary students. Beers, a secondary English teacher by trade, designed this book to support secondary teachers who would like to help their students improve their reading, but don’t know where to start. Like many secondary teachers, Beers did not feel adequately prepared to teach her secondary students to read. For many students, elementary school is where students learn to read, as opposed to secondary, where they read to learn. Throughout the book Beers provides anecdotes about George, a struggling reading she taught during her first year of teaching. She highlights what mistakes she made and what she would do differently if she had the chance to do it all over again. Beers’ experience with George was a defining moment in her life that forever changed the trajectory of her career as she set out to figure out how to help high school students who can’t read.

Beers takes a complex topic and breaks it down into manageable sections. Each chapter focuses on a component of reading and summarizes the research literature in a clear and concise manner. Moreover, each chapter includes a segment called “Step Inside a Classroom,” transcripts of her real-life interactions with struggling readers that provide the bridge from theory to practice. Assessment, Explicit Instruction in Comprehension, Vocabulary, Fluency and Automaticity, Word Recognition, Spelling, Confidence, and Finding the Right Book are just some of the topics covered in Beers’ inspiring text.   

When Kids Can’t Read is a useful handbook for secondary teachers who would like to know how to improve the reading skills of their struggling readers. Beers offers a multitude of detailed strategies and practical classroom activities. She also provides book lists, graphic organizers and other useful tools. This book is one for the collection, as it is the perfect mix of the research base and practical information; practitioners can delve a little deeper into the theory of reading while at the same time have something to use in class the next day. A must-read for all secondary teachers!

Click here for a comprehensive summary (courtesy of The Main Idea: current education book summaries).



Comments are closed.