Know Better, Do Better

Know Better, Do Better

Teaching The Foundations So Every Child Can Read

Meredith Liben, David Liben.

This book is written for anyone concerned about the poor reading results of America’s students, from teachers looking for real strategies to use in their classrooms to parents trying to be better advocates for their children. When more schools use the right approaches for beginning reading, all children will benefit. Know Better, Do Better teaches you exactly how to do it.


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It’s our goal that every child in every elementary school in America can read fluently by the end of second grade. This book explains how to make that happen – for all children in all classrooms. 

Meredith and David Liben have spent decades transforming education, working as teachers, researchers, leaders, and founders of an alternative public elementary school in Harlem—the Family Academy. The Libens have been on the front lines of the reading wars since 1994, when the Family Academy’s first cohort of students failed the NYC end of year reading exam and they were confronted with the question: How can a school with plenty of resources, dedication to outstanding instruction, and support for social and emotional learning fail so spectacularly at teaching children how to read?

The answers to this dilemma are collected here in Know Better, Do Better: Teaching the Foundations So Every Child Can Read. The Libens have poured through the research, pedagogical movements, and deeply entrenched classroom myths to find the literacy practices and instructional materials that actually improve student learning outcomes. Through their work, the Family Academy reading scores rose to the highest of any non–gifted school in Harlem. The best of intentions aren’t enough to make children literate; educators have to know better so they can do better.

This book is written for anyone concerned about the poor reading results of America’s students, from teachers looking for real strategies to use in their classrooms to parents trying to be better advocates for their children.

Product Code: BPP190007
ISBN: 9781943920693 | 05/29/19
Publisher: LSI

Reviews

"In clear, engaging prose, David and Meredith Liben shed much-needed light on an unnecessarily vexed and hugely important subject: how to teach kids to read. Drawing on their deep experience and broad knowledge, they provide educators and parents with concrete, practical advice backed by strong research. Their goal is that every American child will read fluently by the end of second grade. If teachers, administrators, and policymakers pay attention to this book, that may well happen.

– Natalie Wexler, author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—and How to Fix It and co-author (with Judith C. Hochman) of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades

"Is it possible to turn around a school whose students have struggled in the past to become proficient readers?  The answer is YES, and David and Meredith Liben have done it!   In this highly readable and practical book, the Libens argue for the importance of developing a strong reading foundation in students and they describe how it can be done in any school. This is truly a must read for teachers, principals, and other school personnel who want to change reading outcomes for their students." 

– Tim Rasinski (Professor Emeritus Ohio State University, Past President, International Reading Association)

"The science of reading comes alive in this book.  It’s filled with evidence-based recommendations, and practical ones, for teaching students to read.  The authors provide a systemic approach, logical in its organization, to ensure that students have access to quality literacy instruction." 

– Doug Fisher (Author, Professor, San Diego State, Founder, Health Sciences High School and College, Past President International Literacy Association)

"My career in education began as a first grade teacher and I needed this book. The Libens have provided an indispensable review of the research on foundational reading and translated the evidence/ base into engaging practice. This book is not meant to just read but to use over and over again."

– Francie Alexander, Author, California Reading Hall of Fame member, Chief Research Officer at HMH and Literacy Solutions

"Imagine a book that is easy to digest on the highly technical subject of foundational reading skills and chock full of nifty advice that teachers—and parents—can follow? That’s the Liben’s book in a nutshell.  Each chapter focuses on a real child (or two or more) who enhanced the Liben’s vast ‘reading research knowledge’ with equal measures of humanity and humility. The book has resounding reverence and trust in the power of children’s brains to learn the stuff of learning to read--all children--even those who reach young adulthood never having fully cracked the code. Yes, they tell us, some children are slower at learning to read, but that’s just because they are slower, not because they are dumber. To the well-settled research on learning to read, the book recommends we add a measure of dedicated time, a dose of grit, and a dash of joy so no child is ever left behind or made to feel a failure."

– Susan Pimentel (Grandmother to budding readers, Lead, College and Career Standards for Adult Basic Education, Lead Author English Language Arts - Common Core State Standards)

"Phonics has gotten a bad name despite decades of scientific research showing how important it is. This book explains why phonics matters so much and provides practical tips for teachers (and parents) on the range of instructional elements that need to be in place for all kids learn to read. The chapter on how to help older students will be especially useful for middle and high school teachers who too often end up with struggling readers and don’t know what to do."

– Emily Hanford, journalist and producer of Hard Words: Why aren't kids being taught to read?

"In clear, engaging prose, David and Meredith Liben shed much-needed light on an unnecessarily vexed and hugely important subject: how to teach kids to read. Drawing on their deep experience and broad knowledge, they provide educators and parents with concrete, practical advice backed by strong research. Their goal is that every American child will read fluently by the end of second grade. If teachers, administrators, and policymakers pay attention to this book, that may well happen."

– Natalie Wexler, author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—and How to Fix It and co-author (with Judith C. Hochman) of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades

"David and Meredith Liben have written a must-read for any parent with a child who is struggling with reading.  Because of their book, I was able to understand my 6-year old son’s reading impairment in a new light, which in turn helped me to better support him as his parent.   It was almost as if David and Meredith were sitting right next to me patiently explaining the basics of foundational reading in a clear and concise way, which I did not grasp prior to reading this book.  I especially enjoyed each chapter opening with their personal stories as teachers with students who have struggled with reading on different levels along with their heartfelt story as parents of a child with a reading impairment.  Thank you both for writing this relatable, informative and easy to understand book – you will help more parents than you know."

– Samina Kaloo, Parent, RDN, CDN

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