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When Kids Can't Read: What Teachers Can Do

  • Title:When Kids Can't Read: What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12
  • Author:Kylene Beers
  • Publication Date:September 2002
  • Grade Level:6-12
  • ISBN:9780867095197
  • Publisher:Heinemann

For Kylene Beers, the question of what to do when kids can't read surfaced abruptly in 1979 when she began teaching. That year, she discovered that some of the students in her seventh-grade language arts classes could pronounce all the words, but couldn't make any sense of the text. Others couldn't even pronounce the words. And that was the year she met a boy named George.

George couldn't read. When George's parents asked her to explain what their son's reading difficulties were and what she was going to do to help, Kylene, a secondary certified English teacher with no background in reading, realized she had little to offer the parents, even less to offer their son. That defining moment sent her on a twenty-three-year search for answers to that original question: how do we help middle and high schoolers who can't read?

Now in her critical and practical text When Kids Can't Read—What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12, Kylene shares what she has learned and shows teachers how to help struggling readers with

  • comprehension
  • vocabulary
  • fluency
  • word recognition
  • motivation

Here, Kylene offers teachers the comprehensive handbook they've needed to help readers improve their skills, their attitudes, and their confidence. Filled with student transcripts, detailed strategies, reproducible material, and extensive booklists, this much-anticipated guide to teaching reading both instructs and inspires.

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Author Bio

Kylene Beers, Ed.D., is a former middle school teacher who has turned her commitment to adolescent literacy and struggling readers into the major focus of her research, writing, speaking, and teaching. She is author of the best-selling When Kids Can’t Read/What Teachers Can Do,Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice, and co-author (with Bob Probst) of Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading. She taught in the College of Education at the University of Houston, served as Senior Reading Researcher at the Comer School Development Program at Yale University, and most recently acted as the Senior Reading Advisor to Secondary Schools for the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College.


Kylene has published numerous articles in state and national journals, served as editor of the national literacy journal, Voices from the Middle, and was the 2008-2009 President of the National Council of Teachers of English. She is an invited speaker at state, national, and international conferences and works with teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools across the US. Kylene has served as a consultant to the National Governor’s Association and was the 2011 recipient of the Conference on English Leadership outstanding leader award.

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