A Novel Approach

audiobook (Abridged) Whole-Class Novels, Student-Centered Teaching, and Choice

By Kate Roberts

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As an English teacher, Kate Roberts has seen the power of whole-class novels to build community in her classroom. But she's also seen too many kids struggle too much to read them—and consequently, check out of reading altogether. Kate's had better success getting kids to actually read—and enjoy it—when they choose their own books within a workshop model. "And yet," she says, "I missed my whole-class novels."

In A Novel Approach, Kate takes a deep dive into the troubles and triumphs of both whole-class novels and independent reading and arrives at a persuasive conclusion: we can find a student-centered, balanced approach to teaching reading. Kate offers a practical framework for creating units that join both teaching methods together and helps you:

  • Identify the skills your students need to learn
  • Choose whole-class texts that will be most relevant to your kids
  • Map out the timing of a unit and the strategies you'll teach
  • Meet individual needs while teaching whole novels
  • Guide students to choice books and book clubs that build on the skills being taught.

    Above all, Kate's plan emphasizes teaching reading skills and strategies over the books themselves. "By making sure that our classes are structured in a way that really sees students and strives to meet their needs," she argues, "we can keep reaching for the dream of a class where no student is unmoved, no reader unchanged by the end of the year."

  • A Novel Approach