Understanding as you're reading helps you to engage with the text, read accurately, read with fluency, understand what the author is saying, and think beyond the text. In essence, comprehension is everything. –Jennifer Serravallo
Comprehension and leveled texts are topics that are heavily researched and can become deep and complex. The aim of Understanding Texts & Readers is to honor the extensive research on these topics but make the understandings about texts and readers that are essential for reading teachers more accessible and doable.
Vanessa's story can teach as a number of important lessons about reading instruction:
- Comprehension is not fixed; it's fluid, based on a number of factors.
- Text leveling isn't a perfect science.
- One single assessment often doesn't give us the entire picture.
- Responsive instruction is crucial to the development of readers.
Let's all learn from Vanessa's story –you can listen to her full story here– and approach our readers with a deeper knowledge about them and the texts they read to match them with books they can read with independence and engagement, goals they can work toward that are meaningful and matched to their needs, and strategies that will help them work on those goals so they become strong, confident, engaged lifelong readers.
Jennifer Serravallo is the author of New York Times bestseller The Reading Strategies Book as well as other popular Heinemann titles, including The Writing Strategies Book; Teaching Reading in Small Groups; Conferring with Readers; and The Literacy Teacher's Playbook, Grades K–2 and Grades 3–6. Her newest book is Understanding Texts & Readers. She is also the author of the On-Demand Course Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Matching Methods to Purposes where you can watch dozens of videos of Jen teaching in real classrooms and engage with other educators in a self-guided course.
Jen began her career in education as a teacher in Title I schools in NYC and later joined the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. Through TCRWP and now as an independent consultant, she has spent over a decade helping teachers across the country to create literacy classrooms where students are joyfully engaged and the the instruction is meaningfully individualized to students' goals.
Jen holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA from Teachers College, where she has also taught graduate and undergraduate classes on urban education reform and children’s literature.