Teaching Reading in Grades 3-5

teacher and student readingAs a Reading Teacher or Literacy Coach, you occasionally hear comments that are related to teaching reading in upper elementary grades.  Here are the “Top Ten” fallacies or misunderstandings that I’ve heard over the years.

  1. “The kids in my class already read chapter books, so there’s nothing left for me to teach them.”
  2. “All my students can pass the state tests, so why should I give up precious class time to reading?”
  3. “I’ve got a few struggling readers, but, to tell you the truth, I blame the primary teachers for not teaching enough phonics.”
  4. “I have way too much content — in Science and Social Studies — in my grade.  I can’t afford to give that much time to reading during the school day.”
  5. “I have so many English Language Learners and Learning Disabled students in my room, that I have to read the texts TO them.  They just follow along.”
  6. “I can’t possibly read all the books the kids are reading, so I always use whole class novels.  That way we all do the book together.”
  7. “My students do get time to read everyday, but it’s a homework assignment.  They are expected to read at home for ½ hour every night.”
  8. “I assess my students on reading with a word inventory and a spelling inventory.  I don’t’ have time for one-on-one conferring.”
  9. “I like my struggling readers to get pulled out by a resource teacher, so that I can really teach reading to the bulk of the class.”
  10.   “I have my students read chapter books each month, but the books have to connect with a content area topic.”

If you find yourself saying any of these —- STOP!!!—– REFLECT — and start a conversation with your colleagues.  Then find a group who would like to do a teachers-as-readers group with one of these books:

Sibberson & Syzmusiak  Still Learning to Read, Stenhouse

Tovani    I Read It But I don’t Get It, Stenhouse

Vinton/Barnhouse   What Readers Really Do, Heinemann

Schulman, Guided Reading in Grades 3-6, Scholastic

How are you handling comments like this in your schools?


  1. Thank you for this post. I get so frustrated when I hear my colleagues say things like those you mentioned above. It makes me sad when teachers stop giving time for independent reading in their classrooms. Reading and Writing Workshops are the foundation of my literacy block. I don’t know what I’d do without my time to conference with my students, talk to them about reading strategies, good books to read, etc. Equally important is the time for readers to talk to each other.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this post! I get so frustrated when people gravitate to what’s easy instead what will evolve! I believe The Book Whisperer could be added to your must read list. This book inspired and affirmed my beliefs in reading education, and I hope it does the same for others! Thank you again!

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