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

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,881 ratings  ·  169 reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 22nd 2002 by Heinemann Educational Books
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4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,881 ratings  ·  169 reviews

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May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Written by a real teacher who likes kids and recognizes the huge number of them who fall through the cracks in public junior high and high school classrooms. Starts off with a story of her own painful experience with this.

If you're a teacher like I or the author was, you have had kids (probably more than one per class) who can't do the work you assign because of reading deficits. With 30+ others to deal with, it's easy to just shine these kids on. You can flunk them or give them a D and pass th
Roxanne Russell
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edu
Dr. Beers lived a common experience of middle school, high school and early college age teachers that persists today. We enter a room as content teachers and find out we need to know how to be literacy teachers.

Even though multimedia instruction is a growing phenomenon, the majority of content learning in classrooms still occurs through the written word. And guess what? Most students don't like to read and many aren't very good at it. Some really struggle to read at all. We need strategies and
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, professional
WOW - excellent resource for reading teachers of all grades, not just the targeted 6th-12th graders in the subtitle! If more lower grade teachers used these strategies and techniques, perhaps there would be less of a need for this book in secondary grades. In fact, a 3rd grade class showed me their version of "Somebody wanted-but-so" (complete with hand motions) during a summary lesson in the library this week, the day after I read that chapter! So many great charts, question prompts, scales, li ...more
Hope Morgan
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Super informative and helpful. Highly recommended!
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book! I have tabbed it out and color coded my tabs for comprehension, vocab, spelling, and etc. I can't wait to utilize this in my classroom. I especially liked the story that Kylene Beers had with her student George throughout. At times it was funny, sad, and eye opening, but mostly relateable.
Kristin Schumacher
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is now my most treasured teaching resource. I learned so much about how to help struggling readers.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Kylene Beers explains what her first year of teaching was like and I remember feeling the exact same way when I first started teaching. I read this as an undergraduate student, but it holds so much more meaning now as a practicing teacher of both writing and literacy. I keep it on hand as a reference when I need to refresh my memory about how to help struggling readers. I love all her stories of things that really happened to her in her own classroom. I felt it gave the book an authentic voice a ...more
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
This book has had a huge impact on my teaching. It is full of effective, research-based comprehension strategies that are easy to implement. It is also easy to read; I wish Kylene Beers taught at my school so I could be friends with her.
Taylor Guffey
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was the most engaging and one of the most helpful textbooks I have ever read. It's a great resource for teaching reading at the middle and high school levels, and I will definitely refer back to it for guidance.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is worth the full cost of my M.A. program. Well-written, practical, full of strategies...I can't really imagine being an English teacher without it.
Scott Moore
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kylene Beers has become my middle school literacy hero.
Madeleine Vest
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was assigned to read this during college, and didn't really read it. I found it much more engaging and practical this time around because it applies to things I am doing RIGHT NOW instead of what it might be like in my classroom in the future. There is a lot of really practical and ready to use knowledge in here that I really appreciate. It's nice to read books on education that have lots of theory, but it's even better when there are concrete strategies that I could bring into my classroom to ...more
Cody Lawson
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I teach Children's Literature, I like to begin the semester with a read aloud from this book. From the second paragraph on page 3, "That first year of teaching... until page 7 to end The Defining Moment section. I would recommend the use of this text for teaching children's literature specific to students entering grades 6-12.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book supplies "sign posts" to help guide students on the road to reading. These strategies are not just for K-12 as the title suggests. Beers offers strategies to help the reading teacher get unmotivated reading students to engage. This book assisted my own reflection on reading strategies I use with my own students.
Rose Daugherty-rudd
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read it once in undergrad and there are definitely parts I wished I had read more thoroughly at the time. It was better the second time around when reading it as a practicing teacher. I’d recommend this to any reading teacher because it has practical strategies and advice!
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another classic. Kylene’s humour throughout brings you into her classrooms. You feel like you’re having a conversation, and she’s giving you nuggets of advice. A handy book to keep around to reference.
Michelle Flores
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's going to sound weird to say this, but this might be one of the few education related books that I found relatable and helpful. Kylene Beers made me laugh, reflect, and learn. Those are all important things.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Part of a CEU online book course this summer. So informative and inspirational for teachers who need to better understand their difficult readers and ways to not fail them but instead to motivate and inspire them by teaching them using strategies that will work!
Alyssa Potasznik
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quite simply one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read with regard to teaching. The layout is great: the book is organized so well. I’ve already used several strategies in my classroom and they are wonderful. My only regret with this book is not reading it earlier in my teaching career.
Anna Fennell
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have a lot to think about. This is a great resource.
Karci Ardiany
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i love this book
Angel B
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best book on this subject that I have read in a while! Inspiring, but also very, very helpful! I've already implemented strategies in my classroom.
Heather S
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
As an English teacher, I never had to take reading classes, so this book was perfect for me. It teaches strategies to help any student read better. Well worth the money and purchase.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 "Som ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 be ...more
Tristan Miller
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book will change the way I teach. The students she describes in her book... I see them every day in middle school. Ultimately, we have to question: are we teaching the material, or are we teaching the student? Instruction must change to fix the problems we have with reading in this country. For me, this title plus her other, Notice and Note, is 70% of what a teacher needs to know to teach reading.

If you have students who struggle with any aspect of reading (and you might not realize it unt
Dede Smith
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 strate ...more
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