Shifting Phases's Reviews > Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College

Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov
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it was ok
bookshelves: reading-comprehension

Others have written about the weirdly regimental, charter-school-cheerleading tone of this book, so I won't dwell on it. That's not to say that none of the techniques are useful; if you're looking for a compendium of classroom-management techniques that doesn't waste time connecting to research, thinking about classroom philosophy, or looking for links to the big-picture goals, this might be your book.

It is overwhelmingly focused on elementary schools, so most of the techniques weren't interesting to me. However, there is an extensive section on reading that I found useful exactly because it was quite different from all the other reading-instruction books I read.

First, Lemov doesn't call them "strategies" for reading comprehension, he calls them techniques (p. 251). I agree. Reading comprehension always exists in service of something: to perform a play, to follow directions, to critique the directions, or just to enjoy the text. Understanding, it itself, is not the goal, and reading comprehension instruction can lose its way if it is not tightly focused on what that goal is.

He criticizes the use of "visualization," saying that it is overused because it is the easiest of the usual techniques. He also argues that just because strong readers visualize, there is no evidence that the visualizing causes the understanding. (p. 299 and 305) That's certainly possible. I get the feeling that he is talking about imagining the view of the scenery when reading a novel. When I use visualization, I'm talking about drawing a diagram or a graph -- both of which force you to confront what you do and don't know. I also think visualization is useful as a confusion monitoring tool. If you usually visualize when you read, but that image disappears when you get to a certain sentence, you've found the part that confuses you. Lemov doesn't seem to object to this "evidence-based" visualizing (apparently there's another kind).

Besides those points, he refers to the usual techniques: summarizing, connecting, wondering, predicting, inferring. It was helpful to measure my understanding of these techniques against someone with whom I mostly disagree, to make sure my ideas could stand up to the challenge.
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Reading Progress

June 1, 2011 – Shelved
Started Reading
June 2, 2011 – Finished Reading
June 8, 2011 – Shelved as: reading-comprehension

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