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Product Description

For Kylene Beers, the question of what to do when kids can''t read surfaced abruptly in 1979 when she began teaching. That year, she discovered that some of the students in her seventh-grade language arts classes could pronounce all the words, but couldn''t make any sense of the text. Others couldn''t even pronounce the words. And that was the year she met a boy named George.

George couldn''t read. When George''s parents asked her to explain what their son''s reading difficulties were and what she was going to do to help, Kylene, a secondary certified English teacher with no background in reading, realized she had little to offer the parents, even less to offer their son. That defining moment sent her on a twenty-three-year search for answers to that original question: how do we help middle and high schoolers who can''t read?

Now in her critical and practical text When Kids Can''t Read - What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12, Kylene shares what she has learned and shows teachers how to help struggling readers with

  • comprehension
  • vocabulary
  • fluency
  • word recognition
  • motivation
Here, Kylene offers teachers the comprehensive handbook they''ve needed to help readers improve their skills, their attitudes, and their confidence. Filled with student transcripts, detailed strategies, reproducible material, and extensive booklists, this much-anticipated guide to teaching reading both instructs and inspires.

Review

“If I had to recommend just one book to middle and secondary teachers working to support struggling readers, this would have to be the book. When Kids Cant Read, What Teachers Can Do is a comprehensive handbook filled with practical strategies that teachers of all subjects can use to make reading skills transparent and accessible to adolescents. Blending theory with practice throughout, Kylene Beers moves teachers from assessment to instruction from describing dependent reading behaviours to suggesting ways to help students with vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, word recognition, response to text, and so much more. But its not just the strategies that make this book so valuable. Its the invitations to step inside a classroom and eavesdrop on teacher/student interactions. Its the student profiles, the if/then charts, the extensive booklists and, of course, the experiences of a brilliant reading teacher. This is simply the best book published to date to support struggling adolescent readers!”– Gillda Leitenberg,District-wide Coordinator, English/LiteracyToronto District School Board

About the Author

Kylene Beers, Ed.D., is a former middle school teacher who has turned her commitment to adolescent literacy and struggling readers into the major focus of her research, writing, speaking, and teaching. She is author of the best-selling When Kids Can''t Read/What Teachers Can Do, co-editor (with Bob Probst and Linda Rief) of Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice, and co-author (with Bob Probst) of Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading and Reading Nonfiction, Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies all published by Heinemann. She taught in the College of Education at the University of Houston, served as Senior Reading Researcher at the Comer School Development Program at Yale University, and most recently acted as the Senior Reading Advisor to Secondary Schools for the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College. Kylene has published numerous articles in state and national journals, served as editor of the national literacy journal, Voices from the Middle, and was the 2008-2009 President of the National Council of Teachers of English. She is an invited speaker at state, national, and international conferences and works with teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools across the US. Kylene has served as a consultant to the National Governor''s Association and was the 2011 recipient of the Conference on English Leadership outstanding leader award. Kylene is now a consultant to schools, nationally and internationally, focusing on literacy improvement with her colleague and co-author, Bob Probst.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
414 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Renee O Pruitt
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
4th grade up
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2016
I teach 4th grade, so I''m not exactly the target audience. I''m about to start my third year teaching, and I wanted some new strategies to try for my struggling readers. This book is exactly what I needed. I can see these strategies working as low as 4th grade. (Not K-3) I... See more
I teach 4th grade, so I''m not exactly the target audience. I''m about to start my third year teaching, and I wanted some new strategies to try for my struggling readers. This book is exactly what I needed. I can see these strategies working as low as 4th grade. (Not K-3) I love that the book sticks to traditional wisdom, but it tells you exactly what to do in the classroom. It is extremely practical. It tells you what to do for them before, during, and after reading to support the reader, but the author has teachers to get the students to do the comprehending. The author helps teachers to see how to help without doing the work for the students. The book also addresses vocabulary, fluency, spelling, and choosing the right books. I also enjoyed the style of the book. It is full of stories, so I had no trouble reading several chapters in one sitting.
8 people found this helpful
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Pizzatoes
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
if you are a student teacher or new teacher, this is a wonderful guide
Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2012
I cannot speak on behalf of those with years upon years of experience teaching, so I will just address how it has benefited me. I was assigned this book for a class - and while the class itself has proved to be less than helpful, this text is full of great reading and... See more
I cannot speak on behalf of those with years upon years of experience teaching, so I will just address how it has benefited me. I was assigned this book for a class - and while the class itself has proved to be less than helpful, this text is full of great reading and teaching strategies that can be used in the classroom. I have used several frontloading, comprehension and vocabulary strategies from this text and they were all extremely successful - students enjoyed doing them (I get requests for the "tea party" exercise!) and they retained the information.

Beers'' text has been a great resource to me, and to many of my fellow classmates regardless of their content area. I have tried some of the exercises and techniques in my ELA and Social Studies student teaching placements with great success. If nothing else, this book presents a lot of useful information and experience to consider when it comes to teaching literacy. I have read a lot of books on teaching, and this one has been the most real-world applicable.
9 people found this helpful
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Dee Cardenas
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Useful Text ! Highly Recommended!
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2014
This is, at least for me, an paradigm-shifting book. Beers'' amazingly humble, conversational style of presenting anecdotes, research and techniques appealed to me in ways that other reading texts- Stephanie Harvey, Lucy Caulkins, both of whom I find useful, just not... See more
This is, at least for me, an paradigm-shifting book. Beers'' amazingly humble, conversational style of presenting anecdotes, research and techniques appealed to me in ways that other reading texts- Stephanie Harvey, Lucy Caulkins, both of whom I find useful, just not particularly user-friendly and streamlined, have not.
I also love that Beers is so encouraging of writing across the curriculum. I agree with her that layering writing assignments into content delivery serves the students, as well as over-burdened teachers- far better than stand-alone tasks that merely require of the student a downloading of information onto worksheets or standardized tests.
My sole complaint is teacher''s of younger students will have to connect the dots for themselves- not too bad given it was not in the scope of Beers'' book. I teach elementary ELA, and found it very useful. Can''t wait to use some if the gems in the coming year!
3 people found this helpful
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James Hiller
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Believe the reviews!
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2007
I''m a Title 1 teacher in Oregon, and I work with the types of readers that Kylene Beers talks about in her book "When Kids Can''t Read: What Teachers Can Do". I found her book to be loaded with practical, "use in your classroom the next day" ideas that are easy to... See more
I''m a Title 1 teacher in Oregon, and I work with the types of readers that Kylene Beers talks about in her book "When Kids Can''t Read: What Teachers Can Do". I found her book to be loaded with practical, "use in your classroom the next day" ideas that are easy to implement.

Now, my school is an elementary school, and initially I avoided this book due to the "Guide for Teachers 6-12" label on it. Boy, was I wrong. While the focus of her book is for middle and high school teachers, most of her techniques are excellent techniques for the younger learners as well, especially the fifth grade students that I''m working with. She has taken many of the concepts we use in elementary school and upgraded them for older kids; but good teaching is good teaching, no matter what you are trying to do.

This book is so practical, on the inside front cover, you are given a simple chart that list reading problems that kids have, and the chapter that you can immediately turn to in order to get ideas! It can''t get any friendlier than that.

However, I also suggest a more thorough read through of this content. Beers talks throughout the book of a student named George that she taught early in her career, before she knew much about teaching. Sprinkled through the text, before and after each chapter, write writes lovingly to George about how she failed him time and time again, in direct relation to the content of the chapter. As a teacher, looking back on my own career, I can totally relate to that. If I knew then what I know now... the letters become Beers "mea culpa", and they are a beautiful addition to the text.

I highly recommend this book for ANY teacher struggling to teach struggling readers reading. It''s practical, easy to use, and loaded with great ideas.
31 people found this helpful
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Jo Leigh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The best guide to teaching reading
Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2014
Beers frames each chapter with a brief letter to a former student, expressing a generous regret for the ways she feels she failed him when she was a new teacher. These letters strike to my heart, as the weaknesses she identifies in her own early teaching strategies echo... See more
Beers frames each chapter with a brief letter to a former student, expressing a generous regret for the ways she feels she failed him when she was a new teacher. These letters strike to my heart, as the weaknesses she identifies in her own early teaching strategies echo every concern I''ve had as a student of English education. Beers not only explains how to remedy these concerns by telling you HOW to teach better, she models the strategies for you by providing transcripts of actual teaching experiences (both the good and the bad) to SHOW you how much difference these strategies make. She covers everything in this book, it seems. This is a must read for any English teacher, whether preparing to enter the field or already practicing.
2 people found this helpful
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xiaoqing
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book and price.
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2020
This is a very good resource book for anyone who is interested in knowing more about how to learn and teach to read better, especially to help those who are with reading difficulties. I first found this book in a Barnes & Noble store. After reading a few pages I decided I... See more
This is a very good resource book for anyone who is interested in knowing more about how to learn and teach to read better, especially to help those who are with reading difficulties. I first found this book in a Barnes & Noble store. After reading a few pages I decided I would want to buy it, but it costs $20+, then I tried to see if there are used ones online. I am happy I found this used book from Amazon which is in very good condition and costs much less than a new book. I like the book and the price so much that I bought a second same used book as a gift to give to my friend. She appreciated me for doing that.
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Pleasantly Surprised
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Seller
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2021
This is a review of the seller instead of the book (which is good so far -- I have yet to actually use it in my classroom. This was a required text for my Master''s program). Fantastic seller. I found a thoughtful note on a card inside the book. The book arrived in "used-... See more
This is a review of the seller instead of the book (which is good so far -- I have yet to actually use it in my classroom. This was a required text for my Master''s program). Fantastic seller. I found a thoughtful note on a card inside the book. The book arrived in "used- very good" condition and I have zero complaints. Wild West General Store is the way to go - small business, quick shipping. Completely satisfied.
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KC
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cure for Every English Teachers'' Achilles Heel -- Teaching Reading
Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2007
We secondary (Grades 7-12) English teachers have a weakness and it''s called reading. Oh, we''re GREAT readers and love literature and know how to teach it (to avid and average readers). But throw a kid at us who struggles with reading (and we get them every year) and... See more
We secondary (Grades 7-12) English teachers have a weakness and it''s called reading. Oh, we''re GREAT readers and love literature and know how to teach it (to avid and average readers). But throw a kid at us who struggles with reading (and we get them every year) and they''re likely to fall through the cracks, because our solutions are rather simplistic. We say things like, "Read it again," or "Sound the word out," or "Look the word up." When they hesitate before a strange word while reading aloud, we give them the word. When they don''t do the reading assignment, we watch them flunk our quizzes and wonder why they are so lazy.

Enter Kylene Beers, with easily the best book I''ve read on the subject of struggling readers who are NOT of elementary age, but of middle and high school age. Yes, elementary teachers have reading specialists to fall back on, but in secondary schools, it is often either the English teacher who must intervene or no one. For Beers, the inspiration for writing this book was the number of former students she had who were condemned to "or no one" because she simply did not know what to do. For me (and probably legions of other teachers) her story will sound chillingly familiar. Fortunately, WHEN KIDS CAN''T READ: WHAT TEACHERS CAN DO is the antidote to our problems.

In this book, Beers identifies the myriad of types of students who struggle with reading, and why. She provides practical strategies on how to intervene if your students struggle with comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and word recognition/fluency/automaticity. There''s also advice on how to help kids in responding to literature, as well as how to help them find a book that will tap into their interests.

Each chapter includes an introduction and thorough definition of the problem, a section called "Step Inside a Classroom" which details real-life transcripts of kids having this exact reading difficulty, and a list of various strategies you can try -- even if it means having different groups with scaffolding activities within your language arts classroom. At the end of the book are appendices that include such helpful reproducibles as bookmark templates, common roots/prefixes/and suffixes, Fry and Dolch word lists, common phonics generalizations, 175 most common syllables in the 5,000 most frequent English words, word sorts, easily confused words, common spelling rules, and booklists for every type of reader. Can you say goldmine? This is the end of the rainbow, folks.

I can''t recommend this book enough to my fellow 7-12 English teachers. Reach out to your weak readers. Don''t condemn them to a life of mediocrity (or worse) in literacy by assuming either it''s their problem or they are beyond help. It''s not and they aren''t. Buy this book and put it to good use. This is where theory meets the road (called "practicality"). Be not only an English teacher, but a READING teacher (in every sense of the word).
27 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

M. R. Newell
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I''m seriously gonna be a reading teaching maven!
Reviewed in Canada on October 6, 2016
When I learned to teach, it was assumed that the students in the age bracket that I was to teach had already learned to read. I would help them comprehend their reading more deeply. It did not work out that way. Plenty of my students struggle to read, even though they are...See more
When I learned to teach, it was assumed that the students in the age bracket that I was to teach had already learned to read. I would help them comprehend their reading more deeply. It did not work out that way. Plenty of my students struggle to read, even though they are in middle school. I was given worksheets and much superficial advice and was not feeling all that good about my work with my students. Until I finally read this book. Dr. Beers explains in a very heartfelt format that includes her letters of apology to one of her first struggling readers, George and how impotent and misunderstanding she was with him. Then she goes on to explain what she has learned in the time since first struggle. It is a memory, I believe most of us teachers have; a student whom we feel we failed as a teacher. Her come back, in the learning she can share with us so that she might change that first bad ending is powerful. She lays it out; the research, the strategies, the ways to share the information with a class in an effective manner. I am really heartened by this book. I have made lesson plans and scaffolding materials directly from it. Then, as I apply this, I learn it in a way that I have internalized it and made it my own. I''m seriously gonna be a reading teaching maven!
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I highly recommend this book to any teacher of struggling readers in ...
Reviewed in Canada on October 16, 2017
An outstanding resource filled with practical suggestions to improve students'' reading comprehension. The information compiled in the appendix, alone, is worth the price of the book! I have purchased copies both for my own professional library, as well as for my school''s...See more
An outstanding resource filled with practical suggestions to improve students'' reading comprehension. The information compiled in the appendix, alone, is worth the price of the book! I have purchased copies both for my own professional library, as well as for my school''s resource department. I highly recommend this book to any teacher of struggling readers in the junior, intermediate and senior grades.
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