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Reading Ladders: Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be
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Reading Ladders: Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  458 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Many of us are searching continually for that just-right book for each and every one of our students. It is my hope to help you find those books. More importantly, I hope to help you guide students to the next great book and the one after that. That is the purpose of Reading Ladders. Because it is not sufficient to find just one book for each reader. -Teri Lesesne

"I finish
Paperback, 129 pages
Published February 14th 2010 by Heinemann Educational Books (first published 2010)
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Jennifer Brinkmeyer
Mar 21, 2011 Jennifer Brinkmeyer rated it liked it
Here's my version of the table of contents:

Ch 1: I like that she brings up how response is neglected. I've been thinking about the books students read in my classes and it makes me wonder why I don't make more space to respond. How can they possibly get passed their feelings about a book when their feelings aren't acknowledged?

Ch 2: An affirmation of all that I already believe: read-alouds, access, models, and time are all necessary for building lifelong readers.

Ch 3: Discussing what motivates r
Dec 27, 2016 Alicia rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Scaffolding reading. There are ways to get readers reading and ways to get non-readers reading and then there's the next step. Keeping them reading.

This professional text is short, sweet, and focused. Essentially sharing with teachers and librarians the ways in which we can get smarter about recommending books, not to get a Diary of a Wimpy Kid reader to be reading Tolkien but instead, thinking about similarities, themes, and text in a way that continues to support the reader. It's a way to ref
Jul 08, 2011 Holly rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for all reading teachers. Lesesne talks about the merits of using contemporary literature in the classroom and building literacy ladders. I have lots of post-it-note flags sticking out of the pages marking great ideas. She's a high school expert, but there is a lot here for elementary teachers, too. One of the ways I'd like to use reading ladders is to build background knowledge using picture books for historical fiction books like A Long Way from Chicago, Wednesday Wars, Cou ...more
Sep 05, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
Full of great ideas for helping kids move from one book to the next and keeping the sustained reading going, this is a must-read for teachers who care about helping kids to become lifelong readers. This one deserves a place next to Atwell's THE READING ZONE and Donalyn Miller's THE BOOK WHISPERER. Highly, highly recommended.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Lesesne's book captures what I always felt in my gut but wasn't sure how to put it into words. Scaffolding books to keep moving readers along the continuum. Now the challenge - implementing it and providing reading ladders for teachers to help them catch the vision.
Nov 13, 2016 Travis rated it really liked it
Such a great resource for teachers, especially when we know we must differentiate instruction for our students and get them to read increasingly complex literature. The stories, strategies, and book lists were excellent. Excited to share this with colleagues!
Mar 06, 2014 Declan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I like the concept but there is not enough classroom tested how to here.
Ashley Guilbault
Mar 21, 2017 Ashley Guilbault rated it it was amazing
Reading Ladders by Terri S. Lesesne discussed the importance of developing motivation amongst students to build them into lifelong readers. She revealed three variables that produce the strongest effect on students to spark that motivation within them; these include book variables, student variables, and school variables. These three essential factors all play a significant role in how students perceive books, and affects how students select books as well.

Reading Ladders also provided many exam
May 20, 2017 Lisa rated it it was amazing
So helpful
Rachel Prince
Jun 14, 2017 Rachel Prince rated it liked it
Shelves: professional
Loved the book suggestions and the progression from familiar to new territory. I feel like it didn't really help me with my elementary students however.
The Styling Librarian
I sat and read Reading Ladders Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We’d Like Them to Be by Teri S. Lesesne @professornana from cover to cover. Sometimes I had to adapt and think primary as Teri shared her insights into YA content but overall it was one of those professional books that I appreciated from beginning to end. I initially purchased this book because I appreciate Teri’s insights shared on and secondly because I was hoping to expand my abil ...more
The Reading Countess
I have kids who are either reluctant readers at the beginning of the year, or who read like my six year old eats: only a handful of favorites are ingested and the rest of the good stuff sits ignored on the plate/lunch kit. As a reading teacher, it's been my challenge (or is that pleasure?) to coax these readers into discovering the joys of both reading and choosing genres outside of their comfort zone. I've also had students who are proficient, even voracious readers. These readers chew up books ...more
Christina V.
Mar 25, 2012 Christina V. rated it liked it
Shelves: education
This is a good book to read for any teacher who wants to start incorporating independent reading (which I'm going to refer to now as IR) in their classrooms. I personally believe that IR is so incredibly important for students. I know some educators who scoff at the idea of IR because they think that it's a waste or time, or that teachers use it to get out of "real" teaching, or that it's not rigorous enough, but I don't think that's true. IR, when it's done right, can be an incredible stepping ...more
Jun 16, 2010 Marsha rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Interesting book with tons of great ideas. I get this notion of the top and bottom rung and it makes sense.

I am so focused on helping my students develop an interest in nonfiction that I have to consider how this would work in my science class. I could definitely see having a bottom rung be a picture book that makes the topic accessible. This would give all kids an introduction to the topic....and if it was a DK Eyewitness books they could either read the information or the captions or look at t
Randall De Kleine
I teach high school Language Arts, so this was a solid follow-up read to Book Love by Penny Kittle. I particularly liked the early chapters which gave considerations on how best to motivate lifelong readers (know about books, know about students, and know about environments) and establish a culture of literacy in classrooms (read-aloud, book talks, classroom libraries). I'm also affirmed in my decision to give students as much independent reading time as I can allow within the parameters of my ...more
Mrs. Green
Terri Lesesne's book is firmly grounded in student choice, and since this is a topic that I've found particularly difficult as a reading teacher, I found the book very helpful. While I wouldn't characterize this book as solely a "list book," it does provide many titles, nicely categorized, for use in the classroom, alongside step-by-step instructions, sample lessons and rationale based in the reading ladders method. The reading ladders approach advocates building lifelong reading foundations and ...more
Maggie Front
Jul 24, 2012 Maggie Front rated it liked it
Recommends it for: educators
The idea of moving students from where they are comfortable reading to the next level(s) attracts me; however, the ladder strategy seems unwieldy for teachers with large numbers of students. The practical aspect of using reading ladders with 90 students is something I'm grappling with.

Teaching students the concept of reading ladders to help them develop awareness of themselves as readers will be an informative exercise for me, this year. I envision mini-lessons using short stories or picture bo
Jun 07, 2010 Claudia rated it really liked it
Finding the first book for a reluctant reader isn't very tough...but finding the next and the next is where it gets tricky. This is what Lesesne is all about -- scaffolding the next and the next -- increasing the complexity, the challenge as we continue to throw books at kids. I have always known if I can get a student reading, I can find another book for him. I call Harry Potter a gateway drug, because it's the way into a reading life.

Lesesne has the research that shows we must read aloud to st
Kyra Nay
May 19, 2016 Kyra Nay rated it it was ok
While the concept of reading ladders, or grouping books in orders designed to improve a student's reading skills and expand their reading horizons, was clearly explained and presented with a wide variety of example "ladders," I could not move past the author's insistence on gendering reading habits and particular books.

A book isn't a "boy" book because it features a male lead character. A book that deals with first love is not a "girl" book. Books are just books. If, in the aggregate, boys and
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Sep 09, 2011 Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it really liked it
I really like the way Lesesne writes- her tone is conversational and the sentence structure casual resulting in a slim volume that is easy to read but that covers some really great ideas on how we both start kids as readers and encourage their continued participation in this wonderful activity. The book is pretty well organized, although the second chapter is a bit of backtracking from the first, but is a concise and useful reminder of how kids develop reading skills and appreciation. One of the ...more
Jul 17, 2016 Adrienne rated it it was ok
not a bad book, but as an avid reader and an educator constantly trying to radicalize my teaching for the better, I've already known many of these things. I was hoping I'd get more of a technical manual on how to build ladders, especially for high school students. this seems like a good book, but it's not the book for me. I also heartily disagree with her opinion that teachers should have read all the books on their classroom library shelves in order to ensure they can test that their students a ...more
Mar 31, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
I almost abandoned this book after the first few chapters. However, I enjoy following Teri Lesesne on Twitter, so I continued. Although the first few chapters may not be groundbreaking for teachers with a few years under their belts, chapters 5, 6, and 7 demonstrate Lesesne's vast knowledge of young adult literature. Chapter 6 specifically ("Upping the Ante with Reading Ladders") gives solid ideas for how reading ladders can be incorporated into the classroom to model comparing and contrasting v ...more
Katie Clark
Mar 04, 2012 Katie Clark rated it liked it
Shelves: methodology
While the idea is good and there are a lot of good resources given in it, I don't think it'll help too much for my teaching 6th grade students. Most of the specific novels are for older. I would have liked more anecdotal stories to show how these have worked for readers. I also feel that this is a lot of work being asked of the teacher to come up with a reading plan and to be the guru of choosing books. While I often start that way, I like to get my students into finding other ways of finding wh ...more
Barb Keister
Mar 29, 2013 Barb Keister rated it really liked it
Reading Ladders shows teachers how we need to think beyond just finding that perfect book to start a student reading, and develop a progression of books that builds on where students are as readers. I'm thinking this book would be a part of a reading ladder itself! I'd put it with Donalyn Miller's Book Whisperer, Penny Kittle's Book Love, and Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook. A wonderful resource of young adult lit for middle school and high school teachers, but the reading ladders concept is ...more
Jun 13, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
Excellent book for organizing books in a variety of ways. Lesesne specializes in young adult readers, but our librarians have used this book with all levels of readers. We found that we can create reading ladders within one grade level quite well - perhaps not with the same intensity and interconnectedness Lesesne intended, but it does work on an intended level. Reading Ladders is a friendly, easy read that invites teachers and librarians to sit down and think about books, and what can be better ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it
Much of the commentary on free voluntary reading in this book is seen in many other books that I've read. However, I appreciated learning about the concept of reading ladders and definitely see how they can be used to move struggling readers forward and push advanced readers. It seems that a lot of the success using these reading ladders rests on a very knowledgeable classroom teacher or librarian who is very familiar with books of all genres. Not sure how well this would work in an environment ...more
Dawn Little
Jun 19, 2011 Dawn Little rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
While much of this book was affirmation of my own thinking, the idea of "ladders" was new to me. I love how Teri Lesesne provides a practical way to scaffold reading and move students gradually from simple to complex. Additionally, it is such an easy way to help guide students to make connections between texts. I will read children's literature in the lens of "ladders" from now on. Fantastic resource!
Mar 11, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
Awesome resource for teachers to help students move along in their reading. Teri Lesesne's knowledge of children's literature is mind-boggling. The sheer volume of titles, however, might overwhelm a teacher new to (or not yet bought into) voluminous reading. I'd recommend this for someone who has already begun their quest to regular reading, otherwise a teacher might get lost in the number of books mentioned.
Liz B
Oct 15, 2011 Liz B rated it it was ok
Teri Lesesne is a wonderful person and educator. I respect her very much and love to hear her speak. This book was not what I wanted it to be, and it felt mostly like a rehash of why teachers should help kids to read books they like. I am on board with that. What I wanted was information & practical suggestions on leading students from where they are to where we'd like them to be. I didn't really get that from this, to my disappointment. Oh well.
Aug 02, 2012 Amanda rated it it was ok
This book was okay, but I felt like there were too many reading ladders already made and not enough explanation about how to get from the bottom of the reading latter to the top. If I am going to take the time to read a book to help in my classroom, I want to know how I can make this work for myself instead of just reading the ladders that have been created. Maybe this was geared more for middle school instead of upper elementary because I didn't really find it that helpful.
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