Book Reflection: Do I really have to teach reading?

The Book: Do I really have to teach reading? by Cris Tovani

This book was recommended to me before I began TFA Institute in 2012 by one of my favorite High School teachers. In fact, it is her copy of the book I read….I’ve been meaning to get hit back to her forever but just got around to it…..whoops. I ferociously read it in 3 hours at Panera this weekend – a wonderful advantage of summer 🙂


Tovani gives plenty of reading strategies and examples on how they can be implemented in the math class. For example she described a double entry diary with the quote or fact on one side and a reflection or explanation of its importance on the other.  One main thing that stuck out to me was her explicit calling out of math teachers who probably complain most about reading.  As a math teacher we have to teach how to read word problems.  Math teachers will read all the way through a problem then identify the given and what is needed, including variables. I do this without thinking – I have to remember to teach that explicitly.  The book was full of strategies and hints.  Tovani also includes plenty of examples from her classes which make it such a quick, beautiful read.

To be honest, i picked this off my shelf to get it off my to read list. I didn’t expect much out of it but did get quality info. I know that I am also responsible for teaching reading now – the PARCC test requires that my students can read and break apart complex problems like never before. I will have to teach students what that means and how to do it. I also think Tovani provides some insight to keeping students involved with a text.

My favorite thing I am certain to implement are her conversation calendars. Relationships have always been a weak spot for me so by creating a structure to build and maintain relationships and dialogue is wonderful. It is also simple and gives students immediate feedback on the days work and their effort.

(I just re-read this to get it out of my edit que and have picked up so many other things that are so important: group work, my goal of implementing text sets slowly [sub work in part])

Once I start creating strategies to dissect PARCC problems I’ll be sure to come back and skim this post and my top secret google docs with more notes.

Read on.


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