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I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers
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I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,928 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
I Read It, but I Don't Get It is a practical, engaging account of how teachers can help adolescents develop new reading comprehension skills. Cris Tovani is an accomplished teacher and staff developer who writes with verve and humor about the challenges of working with students at all levels of achievement—from those who have mastered the art of "fake reading" to college-b ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Stenhouse Publishers
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Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Vicky by: It says "Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers" but I'm going to read this to learn "Comprehension Strategies for Vicky" lol
Cris Tovani writes I Read It, But I Don't Get It in this kind of patient adventure tone so that you feel like you're in Ms. Fritz's class, riding on the Magic School Bus. Her students who struggled to read were put into her Reading Workshop and felt things like, "It's too late for me to read" and I love how personal and professional Cris Tovani is, like how real she is when she describes her own reading history of fake-reading for classes up to the end of high school and feeling worried that she ...more
Shifting Phases
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Readable, well-organized, persuasive, concrete... I loved this book. Unfortunately it is a giant catalogue of things I now realize I should be doing in my classroom, but was oblivious to. On practically every page I had a face-palm moment, realizing about my students, "oh, THAT's what they're doing." I knew nothing about teaching reading, but now I have some ideas and a bit of insight. My students have no problem reading newspaper articles or novels. But when trying to read their textbooks, all ...more
I Just Can't Get Into Books
"Pedro you better stop playing video games and start to read books ,I'm not asking you to, I'm telling you." "But mom I can't do it, I tried yet, when I'm reading I have difficulties." The major issue here is that I just can't get into books. I read, but I can't focus. When I'm reading I skip lines, sometimes chapters. Different things pop’s up in my head . "When we got outside of the duke of the New York we viddied, by the man bar's long liothed window." This quote i
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I have been teaching sixth grade for the past 16 years and there was nothing in this book that was new to me. All of the strategies she discussed were things that I have been doing with my students for years. However she did have a good list of strategies that I could share with my students. I already do them but it was nice to see them all written up. I also liked her example for how she teaches a purpose for reading. There were some helpful examples in the back as well. The other thing I liked ...more
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
This may be the most useful, hands-on, honest approach for how to teach struggling readers how to become masterful, independent readers. I'm so glad I read (and will reread!) this important book. I used many of the strategies this year and was amazed at their power and purpose. Many of my ninth graders read The Odyssey with more focus and insight than I did! Yay! Everyone wins!
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Initially, I read I Read It, But I Don't Get It over a decade ago. I loved it then and still adore this professional resource now. Cris Tovani reminds me that reading is so much more than decoding and pronouncing words - it's a complex process between the reader and what he or she is reading. Although this book is about strategy instruction in reading, Cris Tovani's message is more about giving students agency to make meaning for whatever they are reading - not just teaching students the strateg ...more
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school, nonfiction
My district sent me this book because I work with struggling readers. I'd planned to take it home for the summer but it ended up in the wrong box. It took me a while to find it again so I'll probably spend some time re-reading.

It's a good book, filled with anecdotes. The strategies tend to be general but I like the way the anecdotes deal with both struggling readers and "successful" readers. After all, don't we all become struggling readers when we read a topic we are unfamiliar with?

I would rec
Rick Gilson
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found the book to be specific in its suggestions and helpful in supporting the classroom teacher's efforts in helping students experience success. Have you ever watched someone speak in English to a person who appears to understand no English? When the speaker realizes the lack of understanding how often have you seen them repeat what they said but just slower and louder? I really like the specific suggestions Tovani offers teachers, and readers, many ways to help "fix" the struggles they are ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kellee by: Amanda
Shelves: adult, education
One of the things I struggle with is think alouds and this book truly helped me with practical ways to improve my think alouds. Although I am already familiar with many of the comprehension strategies that Cris Tovani mentions in the book, I love the practical ways to incorporate them into the classroom. The only thing I found missing from this book is reading for fun.
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching-books
I loved this book. It was honest, readable, and helpful. Tovani is forthcoming about mistakes she has made in the classroom and things that we all do in the interest of time and moving lessons along. I expect that this is a book I will return to over and over again in my career (or at least in these next couple of years).
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a must read for any secondary teacher -regardless of the subject you teach. What do you do when students struggle to read the text you assign to them? This is a short, quick, practical guide for how to help students comprehend difficult text.

I also recommend it to any parent of a struggling reader.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The ideas in here were not really new. I'm a Title I reading specialist and HS English teacher, so I understand the concepts of teaching comprehension. However, there's very few books and resources on teaching reading to older students. So, I got this book with the hopes that i would learn something new. If anything, it reinforced what I'm doing and pushed me to do some things more often/to a greater extent. I rated it 3 stars bc, if you don't have the reading degree and experience I have, this ...more
Katy Benway
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education, teaching
A must-read for any teacher whose content depends on students reading and constructing meaning from text. I picked up Tovani in preparation for a Reading Intervention class; I plan on using her strategies, lessons, and activities in all of my courses. This is the book we should have read in my literacy methods course.
Dana Schroeder
In I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers , Tovani shares practical strategies and reading theory in an easy to read format. Throughout the book Tovani relays conversations and scenarios from her own teaching experiences with adolescents in a high school reading workshop as well as her own history as a poor reader. The emphasis throughout the book is on modeling thinking strategies and explicit instruction on the skills good readers employ.

There were many
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pedagogy
A constant go-to. It's already helped me to help several students.
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Usually I like when the authors of these types of books give me concrete activities and lesson ideas I can bring to my room--it's why I love Kelly Gallagher after a colleague suggested him to me--but Chris Tovani does little of that. Yet somehow, I loved her book and it convinced me that I can, in fact, teach my sophomores to be better readers.

Tovani offers very general insights into reading problems and sets up very vague, but logical, recommendations to fix the places where comprehension brea
Ryk Stanton
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a book I was given during a reading workshop several years ago, but all I read at the time was the small section required for the class. Since I am teaching reading this year, I figured I would brush up on some of the skills and strategies for teaching at-risk readers. I found quite a few interesting philosophies that I can certainly implement in class with my students; my only criticism of this book is the same criticism I had of The Five Love Languages, which is the conversational styl ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Along with Kelly Gallagher, Cris Tovani is on my list of top teacher heroes. I actually began reading her book during one summer when I wasn't hired. I really enjoyed the book but set it aside, knowing that I needed to wait until I had my own class for her book to make the most sense. This is not a book you want to forget about and leave on your shelves!

The writing is incredibly readable and includes many conversations she has with her own high school students. I breezed through the book in thre
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school, 2008
The author gives real world, workable strategies to help struggling readers with their comprehension. She gives specific examples from her own classroom that give me hope, because I've had the same experiences myself.

She says over and over again that we need to TEACH the strategies, rather than expect students to come into the classroom with this knowledge. In addition, she says admits that the strategies don't always work with every piece of text, and encourages the teacher to use multiple str
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
OK, this is for work, but it's very well written and I'm enjoying the reading.

Tovani, the author, was a struggling reader herself, who taught herself how to actually understand what she was reading when she was in her 30s and had "fake read" through public school, high school, and a university degree. Amazing, isn't it?

Because of this, Tovani really understands what's going on in a teen's head when he can read the words, but doesn't understand what the heck is going on in the text.

Because she
Nov 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is fabulously useful. I don't teach adolescents (her book is directed to those who teach students in high school or below); I teach college students. But I still encounter the problems she addresses here, including students who fake-read, students who can't gain a basic understanding of texts without relying on the teacher or other students, and students who don't know how to create their own meaning from and truly interact with the text.

I took detailed notes on this book and plan to
Kristine Rier
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I had to read this for a graduate course on content literacy. I thought the book was well written and encouraged strategies for good reading habits. One of the challenges I grapple with, however, is that Tovani implements these strategies in a classroom that doesn't appear to be subject to pacing. I think that is wonderful….but, in a history classroom that is subject to pacing, the book doesn't resolve for me how to reconcile the time it would take to use these strategies. I would love to be in ...more
Tanya Windham
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Cris Tovani, a high school language arts teacher, explains what being able to read really means. She explains the reasoning for teaching reading in all subject areas and demonstrates the connection between reading and thinking. Reading goes well beyond decoding and pronouncing words. Cris explains her own struggle to truly read. She describes her ability to read and make the grades but never able to truly understand. Some of the examples she gives of her struggles and teacher responses to those ...more
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a high school teacher who teaches many students who say they know how to read but don't remember what they read, I felt compelled to order this book when I heard Cris Tovani will be working with teachers from my school system on literacy. I found the strategies helpful and plan to incorporate them into my lessons because I want my students to be able to read and comprehend text on their own, given that they will face much complex reading over the course of their lives. Most of these strategie ...more
Lisa Scott
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching, 2012
Having read Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop and Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement, I found that this book covered very familiar ground (reworked for older students). It would be very helpful for secondary-level teachers who have never been introduced to direct teaching of reading strategies, or who need a refresher. I liked the "teaching points" with how-to ideas listed at the end of each chapter, and will keep the book ...more
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A clear, concise, no-nonsense guide to helping adolescent readers when they can't seem to make sense of their reading.

Personal dialogues offer a human element to an otherwise dry text, and have helped me to conceptualize when a dialogue about reading comprehension is most appropriate; indeed, in my own (infrequent) teaching experiences, I have had discussions with students about the books they're reading that mirror Tovani's own classroom, and so helped me to launch into a Tovani-tried-and-true
Seth Woodley
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: default, education
This book is easy to read, and it utilizes some helpful strategies. There are many concepts and practices that are both beneficial and convicting.

One of my problems with the books is the reading material for the students. Tovani employs these reading strategies with substantive works, and she neglects the reality of having a significant amount of material to get through. It would be difficult for many teachers to implement these strategies in a typical English or History classroom setting. Thes
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm sort of ashamed to admit this, but I had only read parts of this book and not read it cover to cover until now. WOW - I was missing out! This book should definitely be required reading for any reading or language arts teacher, but I'd also recommend it for ANY teacher of middle or high school students. Teachers of other content areas can use the simple, effective strategies presented by Tovani and students will benefit with improved comprehension of the texts used.

This book was so helpful a
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The best guide that I have found for teaching reading in the classroom - and trust me, I've been looking. Tovani spells out things that, as a natural reader, would never have occured to me. Not only did it illuminate for me why and how my students are struggling, but it made conscious a litant of reading skills that I never even realized I was utilizing, because they were all things I had done instinctively, without being taught.

Every secondary level teacher should read this. It behooves all of
Valerie Zink
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is just simply amazing. It is quick and easy to read, and it is anecdotal yet still very helpful. The book most closely resembles my theory about reading. That you do NOT have to have a so called program, that just knowing who your kids are, having them participate in the process of their own reading and helping by modeling and following up on strategies and skills will really work (especially for those older kids). I do realize that kids lower on the reading continuum, different strat ...more
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Education Books 1 1 Jul 26, 2016 12:18PM  
  • When Kids Can't Read: What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12
  • In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning
  • Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop
  • Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12
  • Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles
  • Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop
  • What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs
  • Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement
  • Words, Words, Words: Teaching Vocabulary in Grades 4-12
  • The English Teacher's Companion: A Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession
  • The Art of Teaching Reading
  • Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook
  • Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide from the Authors of Craft Lessons
  • Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers
  • Reading Don't Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men
  • Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time, Grades 4-12

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