Saturday, June 15, 2013

Catching Readers Before They Fall Book Study Post

So I'm linking up with Kimberley at First in Maine: 

To comment on the book Catching Readers Before They Fall by Pat Johnson and Katie Keier.

Chapter 1: What I Loved

The authors noted their beliefs about teaching reading and many of them are ones that I share as well.

How I Connect It To My Learning:

I think it's important to reflect on where you are before you can figure out where you are going. So I made a list of beliefs of my own.

Chapter 2: What I Loved

"We try to make ourselves believe 'it's not our fault, there was something wrong with those kids'....we are very much opposed to the deficit model that blames the child for his or her reading difficulties". I hear this all the time from other teachers and would add that they throw in the lack of parental support as well-if the parents would read with them at home, they wouldn't be struggling. I actually worked with a teacher who decided the first day of school that the child would have to be retained that year. I really try not to judge people-but that just infuriated me! I agree with the authors that the buck has to stop with us as the classroom teachers.

"Frequently we become so focused on learning the names and definitions of the strategies that make up the system...we overlook the integration".

I can definitely see how this happens. Every year we have trainings on making sure we cover things like making inferences, etc. and I think many teachers take those strategies back to their rooms in isolation and work on them. Instead of looking at the whole reader and how to integrate their strategies together.

How I Connect It To My Learning:

I know I have had readers that really struggled and I really felt powerless as to how to help them. We practiced high-frequency words, we read and re-read text. We worked on decoding strategies. But I never really thought about how all those things fit together to make what these authors refer to as a "reading process". That's something I am looking forward to reading more about as we continue.


  1. I've not heard of this book. You did a wonderful job reviewing it for us. I feel as though I have read it now. :) Thank you for sharing it with me. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. I love how your thinking dovetails with mine. It's so much better to see how other people are thinking while they read. Thank you so much for sharing and linking up! I also love to see the things that got you interested vs my thinking. I reminds me how important perspective, experience, and perception are to the whole reading process.

    First in Maine

  3. Your point about how all the things we work on with struggling readers fit together is a good one. Working on them in isolation most likely confuses our little ones more than helps.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. Oh I totally agree with you about being overly focussed on naming the strategies and teaching them in isolation. I think it's necessary for teachers to know about them and then of course we need some common language, but to teach the different strategies and their names to 6 year olds?! Nope. I don't think it's necessary or helpful to the reading process. I think the kids get way more out sharing their feelings and connections about a book naturally through "real" discussions, play and art. I know lots of teachers will disagree with me ... but the "breaking everything into tiny little pieces" mentality that some educators get into drives me crazy:)

    Barb :)

    1. I completely agree (as usual! :) I think helping them make connections is an excellent way to help keep them passionate about reading as well!

  5. I'm an integration fan too. I think most people learn best seeing the integrated package first, and then breaking it down into smaller parts if necessary.


  6. I loved the idea of integration, too. Getting down on their level while they are practicing the process and being that support makes so much sense.