Six Best Books To Help Students Build Better Reading Skills

Whether you are a first-year English teacher or have been teaching English for over a decade, the books I am sharing in this post are your go-to resources for your PD bookshelf. From the works of great authors like Ms. Kylene Beers to the amazing strategy books by Ms. Jennifer Serravallo, I share with you my top 6 books to improve reading skills that will enable you to help your students build better reading skills.

Books To Improve Reading Skills

Any teacher who wishes to improve her students’ reading skills can directly benefit from each book on this list:

Book 01. The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide To Developing Skilled Readers

Written by the NY Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Serravallo, The Reading Strategies Book is full of 300 reading strategies that you can use with your students right away.  This book is not a one-time read book that you’d read once and let it rest on your PD bookshelf to gather dust for the rest of the year. This is Your Everything Guide” to help you equip your students with all the necessary reading strategies that improve their reading skills.

The Reading Strategies Book helps teachers improve students’ reading skills in that they can pick the right reading goals according to their students’ reading levels (aligned with the Fountas & Pinnell), select an appropriate reading strategy, choose appropriate prompts, and create appealing charts as part of the reading lessons.

The reading strategies shared in the book are suited for readers in kindergarten to eighth grade. The book has been divided into 13 reading goals such as: supporting pre-emergent and emergent readers, improving focus & reading stamina, teaching fluency, improving comprehension in fiction & non-fiction, and so on.

This is the book that got me thinking about the power of setting reading goals and the power of using strategies to achieve those goals. This is the book you’ll use every single day. If you desire to improve your students’ comprehension skills, you may purchase it HERE.

Book 02. Understanding Texts And Readers: Responsive Comprehension Instruction With Leveled Texts

Another book by the NY Times Bestseller author, Jennifer Serravallo, ‘Understanding Texts and Readers’ provides direct support to ELA, literacy, and reading teachers who desire to improve their students’ literacy skills. The book shows you what to expect in terms of text complexity, text features, and student comprehension requirements through first and eighth grades. It highlights the significance of the texts, their levels & complexity, and our students at each grade level. With the sample student responses, she invites us to understand what to expect from our readers when they are required to show their comprehension by writing about reading. In the book, she also argues that we shouldn’t level our students, but match the leveled texts to our students and their needs. 

In this book you will learn about:

  • Understanding literary and nonfiction texts
  • Setting reading goals to support your students’ reading comprehension skills as they progress and tackle complex fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Assessing and evaluating your students’ comprehension of the elements of fiction and non-fiction texts 
  • How to select appropriate books for your students to support independent reading
  • How to conduct reading conferences and set reading goals for your students.

In the book, Serravallo shares the hierarchy of reading comprehension goals for fiction and non-fiction texts separately. This helps the teachers understand the types and features of the texts (Level J – W) and what comprehension skills they should develop in their students at those levels. 

If you want to say goodbye to the never-ending struggles of a reading teacher, you can purchase this book HERE. Also, it pairs perfectly with The Reading Strategies Book, so you may like to read the two together.

Book 03. Conferring With Readers: Supporting Each Student’s Growth And Independence

As I recommend using another book by Jennifer Serravallo, you might be thinking that I am a huge fan of the works of Jennifer Serravallo. Yes, I surely am. This book by Serravallo highlights the importance of reading conferences which is the one-to-one discussion between the teacher and student about the text the student reads independently. The book suggests that teachers spend 5 to 7 minutes conducting individual reading conferences with their students every week to determine each student’s reading progress, reading developmental needs, and goals. Conferring with Readers shows us how the teachers can use effective questioning and observations to investigate a student’s use of reading skills, offer necessary support to build comprehension skills, model a reading strategy to the reader, and explain and guide the students so that they can make effective use of the taught strategies in their independent reading time when they read a variety of unfamiliar texts.

If teaching your struggling readers feels like a wild goose chase, this book is for you. You may want to buy the book HERE.

Book 04. Notice And Note: Strategies For Close Reading

In Notice and Note Kyleene Beers and Robert E. Probst. reveal a whole lot more about close reading strategies that will change the way you perceive close reading. You can help your students develop close reading skills by identifying the six “signposts” as they maneuver through different texts. Both Beers and Probst. show us that the great works of literature offer the very best opportunities for our students to observe what they call the “signposts”. The book suggests that the students should be able to identify these signposts as they read closely, question them, interpret them, and reflect on them. The book aims at developing rigorous reading and higher-order thinking skills as students “interact” with the texts while reading and put into practice the strategies shared in the book. 

The authors share lesson scripts with annotations and highlighted text so that the busy teachers can easily implement the strategies discussed. You will find six signposts in the book with lessons and questions for each of the signposts. If you are someone who is fretting about the Common Core State Standards and are not sure how to enable your students to read complex texts, read closely, and answer text-dependent questions, this book is for you. This book will surely be an asset to any English teacher. To discover more aspects of this book, you can purchase the book HERE.

Book 05. From Striving To Thriving: How To Grow Confident, Capable Readers

In this book, the literacy specialists, Stephanie Harvey and Annie Ward share the best advice for all the teachers who want to help their ‘striving readers become the thriving readers’. The authors of the book share the invaluable advice of trusting and honoring our students, their reading abilities, and their reading interests. Stephanie and Annie encourage us to let go of the ‘labels’ we often attach to our students’ reading abilities as they show us how shattering the glass ceiling of ‘reading levels’ can help your struggling readers become confident thriving readers. 

The authors share their beliefs namely: trust, teach and transform suggesting that the teachers should trust their abilities as teachers to make the best decisions for their students, teach & assess their students reading potential, and transform their students by believing in the power of reading. 

If you want to change the lives of your struggling readers, this book is for you. Excited to delve into the very best of teaching advice? Right? You may click HERE to purchase the book.

Book 06. Chart Sense: Common Sense Charts To Teach 3-8 Informational Text and Literature

Chart Sense is one of those rare books to improve reading skills that make the most impact on your daily teaching. Just like the other books mentioned in this post, Chart Sense is one of the most important teaching tools you will find yourself using almost every single day. In this book, Rozlyn Linder shares her charts that she creates with her students as she models reading lessons in the classroom. Whether you are a first-year teacher or a veteran teacher, this book will guide you throughout your English teaching journey. The book offers multiple charts for informational text and literary text standards which are highly practical as each chart comes with the introduction, teaching tips, scaffolding ideas, grade-level considerations, and other useful resources. This one book offers more than 60 charts with step-by-step guidelines that demonstrate how to create and use these charts. This book is also one that you will use almost every day. A go-to resource for all the reading teachers out there. If you want to add this powerful resource to your teaching toolkit, you can purchase the book HERE.

Do share your feedback, if you find these books to improve reading skills helpful for your students.

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