Teaching Interpretation (Print eBook Bundle): Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning

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9780325060866: Teaching Interpretation (Print eBook Bundle): Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning

"How glad I am that this book has arrived on the scene! It reminds us that teaching towards the Common Core can be some of the most demanding, significant, and bold work you could possibly do. In Teaching Interpretation, you'll join two extraordinary teachers in demythologizing the essential skills of Common Core-aligned reading, and in teaching those skills in such a way that students own them."
- Lucy Calkins

What does interpretation really mean? What does it look like in the classroom? How can we effectively teach students of all reading levels to be successful at constructing interpretations?

"With the Common Core calling for students to take part in the rich and rigorous work of interpretation," write Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen, "it is necessary for all teachers to learn how to teach this important work in ways that reach all learners." Teaching Interpretation demystifies the interpretation process and help teachers take on the challenge of showing students how to construct, revise, and test their interpretations. Presented in manageable chunks that can work with any curriculum, they offer a conceptual framework that makes the interpretation process transparent to both teachers and students. Lesson ideas, text recommendations, templates, and suggestions for how to differentiate help you easily incorporate the work of interpretation into your practice, while student samples and graphic organizers make it all visible.

Download a sample chapter!

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About the Author:

Sonja has taught 5th and 6th grade middle school students for more than fifteen years and is currently working to complete her doctorate in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has presented at conferences on reading instruction that makes central issues related to power and perspective and has provided professional development for numerous educators on the teaching of reading and writing. Sonja is a committee member for The Jane Addams Children's Book Award, which acknowledges the work of authors and illustrators who promote peace and equality. Her first book, Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning, co-authored with Dana Johansen, is reflective of her ongoing work to propel students' growth as readers and help them view the world through multiple lenses. Follow Sonja on Twitter @LitLearnAct.

Dana has taught elementary and middle school for more than ten years. She currently teaches fifth grade English and is earning her doctorate in Curriculum & Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dedicated to the ever-expanding applications of technology in the classroom, she has presented at conferences on the use of iPads, wikis and blogs in the classroom. Passionate about this work, her first book, Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning, co-authored with Sonja Cherry-Paul, combines her love for teaching reading with digital resources. Follow Dana on Twitter @LitLearnAct.


Interpretation is one of those words that strikes fear into every educator s heart. We can tell when students are struggling, but moving them beyond mediocre ideas feels akin to teaching them to breathe underwater. In a thoughtful and resource-packed debut, Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen help to demystify the teaching of interpretation skills. Not as a one-right-answer formula, but as a progression of experimentation and rethinking that feels right at home in student-centered classrooms. Teaching Interpretation has given me tools for teaching complex thinking in approachable ways.
--Christopher Lehman, author of Falling in Love with Close Reading

As a Literacy Coordinator, Teaching Interpretation is the professional resource I will keep close at hand in my work with teachers and students as we navigate through the demands of the Common Core. Sonja and Dana know how the work of interpretation can be a daunting and overwhelming process. But luckily for us, they have set forth an Interpretation Framework that provide for students multiple entry points in developing their understanding of what it means to construct powerful and plausible interpretations of a text. In this book, Sonja and Dana also provide specific ways for teachers to introduce or review the various concepts that are essential in teaching interpretation to help our students become better critical thinkers. The design of the book allows for teachers to easily incorporate any of the ideas, lessons, assessments, graphic organizers, and list of text resources into an already existing curriculum. This book is a must-have resource for any teacher.
--Michelle Kaczmarek, K-8 Literacy Coordinator, Dobbs Ferry, New York

Sonja and Dana break down the invisible, mysterious, and difficult process of interpreting a text in a realistic, practical way that every teacher and every student can instantly implement. Their approach allowed my students not only to identify important features in the book, such as theme, mood, and symbolism, but also to push their thinking further, making connections supported by the text. With Teaching Interpretation, Sonja and Dana have given teachers a framework for breaking down the process of interpretation so that students have the tools not only to find what is important in the book but also to understand why it s important on their own. This book has everything that I want in a professional development text: student writing samples, suggestions of mentor texts, lesson plans, and the honest, clear voices of two reflective teachers who are doing this work each day in their classrooms. I ve become both a better teacher and reader with this book!
--Maureen Mooney, English Teacher, Greenwich Academy

In my experience as an English as a Second Language (ESL) educator and as a Literacy Specialist for more than twenty years, it is often challenging to increase my students English language proficiency, while simultaneously teaching higher-order thinking skills. Teaching Interpretation has been critical in supporting me as an ESL educator. Cherry-Paul and Johansen expertly deconstruct teaching interpretation by stripping the concepts to its core. They provide clear explanations, instructional support and include graphic organizers to scaffold, track and organize students thinking. In addition, for my students, the use of digital texts is pivotal as it removes language as an obstacle that might impede their academic success. --Jenice Mateo-Toledo, K-12 ESL Coordinator, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

Not since Strategies That Work has a book designed for educators been so profoundly helpful to me as a fifth grade teacher. The authors present a truthful portrayal of the student-centered classroom and the intricate workings of the mind of a child through real examples. But finally, here is a book that also directly addresses Strategies for Advanced Readers, which is so often neglected in professional development. This is not a HOW to teach or WHAT to teach book. Teaching Interpretation is a practical, no-nonsense guide for educators at every level. --Carolyn Denton, Fifth Grade teacher

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