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Improving Comprehension Instruction: Rethinking Research, Theory, and Classroom Practice.

IMPROVING COMPREHENSION INSTRUCTION: Rethinking Research, Theory, and Classroom Practice. Block, C., Gambrell, L. B., & Pressley, M. (Eds.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002. 425 pages. $29.95. "The message is clear--the most important thing about reading is comprehension" (p. 3). With these words, the editors of this collection begin their journey through new efforts to translate research and theory into classroom practice. The editors have pooled the talents and expertise of such leaders in this field as Anne P. Sweet, Catherine Snow, Ellin Oliver Keene, Gay Su Pinnell, James Flood, and Diane Lapp--to name just a few contributors.

The editors divide the book into four areas: New Directions in Comprehension Instruction, New Comprehension Lessons Across the Curriculum, Integrating Technology and Innovative Instruction, and Overcoming Comprehension Challenges. Each of these sections examines effective and innovative ways to conceptualize comprehension and to promote the comprehension instruction efforts of teacher educators, researchers, administrators, reading specialists, and teachers. The topics and instructional practices included in the book are certainly appropriate for the intended audience. One can only hope that this work will serve as an impetus for changing traditional classroom practices in teaching comprehension to reflect true instruction, not the typical practice of simply testing comprehension.

In the summary section of the book, Michael Pressley discusses how the most recent focus in reading instruction has been on "word-level processes." He notes that if this is the primary focus of reading instruction, students merely become "word callers" who do not have an understanding of the words they have called. The editors prompt all educators to teach children to become experts at comprehending, and they provide the instructional tools necessary for this important task. Reviewed by Angela S. Raines, Mississippi University for Women, Columbus
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Author:Raines, Angela S.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 6, 2004
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