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What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs (What Really Matters Series)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  645 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
A part of the What Really Matters series, the Third Edition of What Really Matters for Struggling Readers examines the increasing amount of research demonstrating that we can teach every child to read. Using non-technical summaries, nationally recognized scholar and author Dick Allington delivers a concise and balanced introduction to reading remediation and intervention ...more
Paperback, Third Edition, 246 pages
Published January 30th 2011 by Pearson (first published 2000)
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Nov 21, 2011 Renee rated it it was amazing
Have you noticed that every new educational method, material and program is "research based" or "scientific"? Everything these days is the new miracle that will transform your classroom into the model learning environment. Thank God for Richard Allington! He sorts through years and years of research to focus on the big picture of what research really says about the needs of struggling readers.

Here are but a few things that I found especially interesting:
*Developing phonics skills and phonemic a
Marissa Morrison
Oct 09, 2011 Marissa Morrison rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous book! The text is rich with discussion points and suggested strategies. Allington states that in order for kids to grow as readers, they need at least 90 minutes of reading during their school day. That's actual reading, not filling in worksheets, listening to someone else read, or struggling though material that is far above their current reading level. A few of the many useful ideas for teaching include having students read to younger kids so that they don't feel self-conscious ...more
Jan 15, 2009 Cherese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is compelling book for educators interested in improving reading instruction and offers as strong critique coupled with suggestions for improvement. Really stresses the necessity of high volume, access, and choice of what kids read. It makes me want to hit the restart button on my career as an educator.
Jen Traub
Aug 12, 2014 Jen Traub rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A ton of great information!! It validated a lot of what I believe and challenged some of my ideas.
Kids need BOOKS THEY CAN READ. They need time to read!!! We need to see them as kids, with their own needs, challenges and strengths.
Jan 07, 2010 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts from the very beginnings and reviews history and the data on reading achievement; though it wasn't new to me it was a good reminder. Richard knows the reading research and right now is discussing the importance of having kids read a lot.
Mary Rose
Jul 25, 2007 Mary Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: reading teachers/reading specialists
Shelves: teach
Allington includes refreshing opinions but also lots of research informed recommendations for developing reading programs. This book is a definite recommendation for anyone who is in the process of developing a reading program, reading teachers, and anyone else interested in literacy education.
Oct 27, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It made me feel very good about what we already do, but also gave me lots to think about!
Nov 26, 2010 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-read book for teachers and administrators.
I have mixed feelings about this book - on one hand, it's obvious that Allington knows his stuff. He's got some astounding statistics about the various levels of reading success in our current system, and the environmental effects on children's reading ability. He offers a ton of suggestions for creating both meaningful and effective reading programs in schools. Although I'm not an educator in an administrative role, I can see the value of the knowledge that he provides in this book.

However, I a
Amy Ensign
Jun 19, 2011 Amy Ensign rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started my K-12 reading licensure program with this book and visit its pages regularly. No other book I've encountered has so clearly proposed what isn't working and how to make it work. It's a transformative reading for anyone interested in literacy issues. Allington clearly lays out how to help students who are behind in reading, and its map isn't necessarily what the reading profession has always believed.

After I read this book Waiting for Superman came out. It is an important film. Howeve
I really love this book, but I'm frustrated by the lack of secondary coverage. It seems so focused on elementary readers and doesn't seem to give enough advice about working with adolescents.

Also, while I appreciate how Allington provides what's BEST to do with struggling readers, he sometimes glosses over the aspects that are beyond our control. For example, some of these idealizations combat realistic time frames and/or the "I'm only one person" human constraints that we all face as teachers.
Kristine Raugust charette
Two nuggets:
Keep teaching summarization and other reading strategies.
Get better books in their hands for 90 minutes a day.

Two issues:
Two to three in an intervention group with a highly qualified specialist is ideal but not possible.
How to get students to pick books that they will actually read for 90 minutes every day.

The author gives a nod to the type of students I have, and also to teacher struggles. I'm left with a couple of ideas that I knew already and no strategy that is better than what
Kyle Snyders
Mar 13, 2016 Kyle Snyders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed the entire way I think about how to help our struggling readers. It gave me research that I could use in the defense of decisions I have made in my classroom as a result of this text. Allington does all the hard work for you and takes the research, relates it to educators and students, and gives us suggestions to help our readers in most need. This is one of the central books in my life as an educator, and I highly recommend adding it to your library!
Jun 26, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it
Lots of great information and reminders, especially the chapter on fluency. I also loved his reminder that expert teachers, not expert programs, make the difference for struggling readers. However, Allington's pessimism makes this a depressing read. His biting criticism of schools, curricular programs, assessment tools, professional development, and pretty much anything else related to education is quite heavy-handed.
Mar 08, 2015 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title suggests, this is a book about research. It is an interesting read if you are looking for methods, strategies, or programs for remedial or general literacy instruction. It reads as a sort of "do's and don'ts" of reading instruction based on the research that is out there. However, I would suggest finding the most updated version as this one was from 2001.
Richard Allington clarifies what research-based really means while delineating what kind of reading instruction really helps struggling students. Repeatedly he says that for struggling students to improve in their reading, they must read engaging text at an appropriate level throughout the schools day. That means text that isn't too hard for them.
Nov 14, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
This book really caused me to re-evaluate the way the school that I student teach at does things and how they discover what method they would like to use to teach reading and writing. It also led me to start considering the value and purpose of both test prep and homework.
Sierra Haw
Jul 27, 2013 Sierra Haw rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Love How Allington calls it how he sees it. Refreshing when it comes to educational literature. I do wish it had more to say about teaching adolescents who struggle, but in reality there isn't a lot of research out there to write about! A quick and easy read with easily implemented interventions.
Jun 02, 2007 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: elementary school teachers
An excellent educational book. I had it on my shelf for awhile and finally read it cover to cover. I picked up some good pointers on ways to effectivley help struggling readers. It's a book any elementary reading teacher should own.
Georgia Shirley
Aug 15, 2013 Georgia Shirley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is truly 'nothing new under the sun' in reading research. Jim A. puts it all together in a clear and useable format. I am inspired.
Apr 12, 2010 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book with some great points made by Allington on mistakes that are currently being made in the education system that effect our students.
Wendy Scott
Jun 25, 2011 Wendy Scott added it
Recommends it for: educators
Recommended to Wendy by: Amy Asaoka-Nakakihara
I'm on my second read on this one and it may take a few more. So much information, great resource tool for educators.
A must read for all elementary teachers! It's what matters for all readers, not just strugglers. This book transformed my reading instruction while enhancing the Reading Workshop model.
Jun 27, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teacher-books
Feisty, opinionated, brilliant. Raising hell with the establishment.
Ms. Schneeman
Jun 22, 2014 Ms. Schneeman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book spoke to my reading teacher soul. A must-read for anyone who cares about literacy!!!
Lisa Morrow
Mar 28, 2012 Lisa Morrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gleaned so much information from this book! Excellent!
Julie Gardner
Amen, and amen!
Nov 30, 2013 Kiersten rated it really liked it
Not the most exciting thing, but it reads pretty easily and is filled with great info for all educators, especially those passionate about literacy.
Jul 10, 2011 Siobhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teacher-books
Every politician, ELA curriculum writer, principal, superintendent, and teacher of any grade level or subject needs to read this book. Fantastic - research-based and prescriptive.
Jul 24, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing
Clear, concise, thoughtful
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