Enter Sharon Taberski’s classroom and enter a world where children take pride, take risks, and most of all, take reading seriously. It’s not utopia by any means; Sharon deals with the same issues other teachers face: limited resources, tremendous diversity, and the constant threat of overcrowding. What makes her exceptional is her clear vision. She is systematic in her thinking, wise in her decision making. Most of all, she understands her role as a teacher and goals for each student. This is why Sharon is on solid ground.
In her book, Sharon shares what she’s gained in her twenty years of working with children and teachers. It’s organized not around a set of prescribed skills, but around a series of interconnected interactions with the learner:
On Solid Ground
- Assessment: Sharon begins by describing her procedures for assessing children’s reading and then using what she finds to inform her work. She covers scheduling and managing reading conferences, taking oral-reading records, and using retellings and discussions as tools.
- Demonstration: Once she has identified strengths and needs, Sharon demonstrates strategies to help her students become better readers. In this section, she explains how she uses shared reading and read aloud as platforms for figuring out words and comprehending texts, and explores small-group work (guided reading and word-study groups) and teaching children one on one.
- Practice: Here, Sharon describes how she uses independent reading as a time for practice, spelling out the very active roles she and her students play. She also devotes a complete chapter to matching children with books for independent reading.
- Response: It’s important for students to know they’re doing well and where they must concentrate their efforts. Sharon explains how her students use writing and dialogue as tools to better understanding themselves as readers
is informed by current thinking, yet loaded with advice, booklists, ready-to-use reproducibles, and, of course, the words and work of real children. Sharon’s approach is clear, sensible, timeless. You will turn to her book throughout your career.