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Rigorous Reading

  • Title:Rigorous Reading: 5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts
  • Author:Nancy Frey, Doug Fisher
  • Publication Date:October 2013
  • Grade Level:K-12
  • ISBN:9781452268132
  • Publisher:Corwin Press

What it really means to “read closely.”

What could Fern Arable, Jay Gatsby, and Winston Churchill possibly have in common? They all need masterful teachers to help students revel in their complexity. And Nancy Frey and Doug Fisher are just the two mentors to help you make that happen.

Call it close reading, call it deep reading, call it analytic reading—call it what you like. The point is, it’s a level of understanding that students of any age can achieve with the right kind of instruction. In Rigorous Reading, Nancy and Doug articulate an instructional plan so clearly, and so squarely built on research, that teachers, schools, and districts need look no further.

The 5 Access Points Toward Proficiency

  • Purpose & Modeling: Teachers think aloud to demonstrate critical thinking and how good readers always know why they are reading.
  • Close & Scaffolded Reading Instruction: Teachers engage students in repeated readings and discussions, with text-dependent questions, prompts, and cues to help students delve into an author’s ideas.
  • Collaborative Conversations: Teachers orchestrate collaborative learning to get students in the habit of exercising their analytical thinking in the presence of their peers.
  • An Independent Reading Staircase: Teachers artfully steer students to more challenging books, with strategic bursts of instruction and peer conferences to foster metacognitive awareness.
  • Performance: Teachers offer feedback and assessments that help students demonstrate understanding of text in authentic ways and plan instruction based on student understanding.

There’s more . . .  Also included are illustrative classroom video clips available via QR codes along with an online Facilitator’s Guide with PowerPoints--making Rigorous Reading the only resource  a  teacher, school, or district needs to seriously stretch students’ capacity to read and comprehend text.

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Author Bio

Douglas Fisher is professor of language and literacy education in the Department of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and a classroom teacher at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, the Farmer Award for excellence in writing from the National Council of Teachers of English, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for excellence in teacher education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design, as well as books, such as Creating Literacy-rich Schools for Adolescents (with Gay Ivey), Checking for Understanding (with Nancy Frey), Better Learning Through Structured Teaching (with Nancy Frey) and Content-area Conversations (with Carol Rothenberg), Text Complexity (2/e) (with Nancy Frey) and Text-Dependent Questions, Grades 6-12 and Grades K-5 (with Nancy Frey, Heather Anderson, Marisol Thayre).

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Literacy in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. She is a recipient of the Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She has co-authored several books on literacy such as Teaching Visual Literacy and Checking for Understanding (with Douglas Fisher), Text Complexity (2/e) (with Doug Fisher) and Text-Dependent Questions, Grades 6-12 and Grades K-5 (with Dou Fisher, Heather Anderson, Marisol Thayre).


She was a co-recipient (with Doug Fisher) of NCTE’s 2004 Kate and Paul Farmer award for outstanding writing for their article, “Using Graphic Novels, Anime, and The Internet In an Urban High School,” published in The English Journal. She teaches a variety of courses in elementary and secondary literacy in content area instruction and supporting students with diverse learning needs.

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