Rethinking Intervention is so timely. I can see that it is going to start amazing conversations in schools around the country. Shari starts the book by helping readers rethink interventions for students in Grades 3-6. She identifies real issues that keep students from moving forward as readers. She knows that quality teachers are the key and believes in teachers as decision-makers. Early in the book, Shari says, "Packaged intervention programs give schools false hope. With their explicit, scripted lessons, they propagate the big myth that anyone at all can successfully teach struggling students to read. Their cookbook, step-by-step approach seems so simple; if you follow the prescribed lessons as written, the students will improve."
She goes on to say, "However, the most important component of a successful intervention program is a knowledgeable and responsive teacher who can make informed decisions based on students' reading and writing behaviors. A responsive teacher knows how to use the materials to best meet the needs of the students."
Shari understands and reminds readers that the classroom teacher is key to a child's success--especially the child getting intervention on top of classroom instruction. I love this book because it doesn't only talk about the individual things a teacher or intervention specialist can do to support our struggling readers. Instead Shari supports a comprehensive approach that has a child in a solid literacy classroom. She shares ideas for the workshop that support struggling students in whole class, small group and individual groupings. She understands that every part of a child's day is key to their growth as readers and that is it possible to differentiate for these children within whole class and small group settings. If aligned, the combination of these practices in a solid literacy workshop are key to moving students forward.
The last section of the book focuses on the collaboration between the classroom teacher and the intervention specialists. Shari is honest about the challenges for both parties in finding time to meet and collaborate about progress and teaching in both settings. She shares ideas that have worked such as a folder that travels with the student. She also highlights the importance of student knowledge and ownership of goals.
Shari's book brings to the forefront some important things that are sometimes embedded in school cultures--not because teachers don't know better, but because schedules and other things stand in the way. She offers honest thoughts and realistic possibilities for change. This is an exciting book in which Shari offers solutions based on her work in schools and with teachers.
This book is short (119 pages) but it is packed with information and powerful thinking. I can see this book as one that will start important conversations in schools. Shari understands the challenges to quality intervention and also understands that no one is to blame--she understands and respects the challenges and frustrations of every individual involved in a child's education. And with that, she offers some good ideas for rethinking.
Rethinking Intervention is the perfect title for this book as that's what it will allow teachers to do. And she invites us to rethink it in a way that is both hopeful and energizing.