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Dr. Jan Burkins was an elementary classroom teacher for seven years and a literacy coach for seven years. She has worked as a part-time assistant professor, a district literacy leader, and is currently a fulltime writer and consultant. She has written six books about literacy and literacy coaching, with her sixth coming out from Stenhouse in spring 2021. Her groundbreaking books, Preventing Misguided Reading (co-author Melody Croft) and Who’s Doing the Work? How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More (co-author Kim Yaris), reframe the role of teachers as they scaffold readers. Her latest book, which offers guidance on implementing the “wordwork” aspects of balanced literacy instruction, is co-authored with Kari Yates and due out in Spring 2021.
Jan’s current work includes speaking engagements, presentations at conferences, and professional learning support for school districts. At home with large groups, one-on-one coaching, and advising school districts, Dr. Jan Burkins's diverse skill set lends itself to comprehensive and customized support, and all of it is available virtually or in-person. Dedicated to joyful teaching and learning, Jan focuses on identifying and building on a client's strengths while providing substantive research-based support that targets specific goals. You can learn more about Jan’s work at DrJanBurkins.com.
The current emphasis on the body of research known as the "Science of Reading" has renewed the reading wars and raised challenging questions for balanced literacy teachers about the best way to teach reading. Instead of fueling the debate, Dr. Jan Burkins and Kari Yates immersed themselves in the research and produced Shifting the Balance, Grades K-2: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom.
This best-selling guide is concise and practical, integrating effective reading strategies from each perspective. Every chapter of Shifting the Balance, Grades K-2 focuses on one of the six simple and scientifically sound shifts reading teachers can make to strengthen their approach to early reading instruction in these areas:
Practical Instruction for Primary Grades: Whether your students are just learning to read or building more advanced reading comprehensive skills, Shifting the Balance, K-2 is designed to help teachers meet the instructional needs of K-2 students.
Six Manageable Shifts: Each chapter focuses on a key shift that helps educators understand common misconceptions and adjust their thinking around some common instructional practices that teachers have been using for decades.
Evidence-Based Instruction: Burkins and Yates offer busy educators a blueprint for integrating finding from brain research, cognitive science, and child development into their daily instruction, while keeping meaningful experiences with books a priority.
Classroom Applications: Shifting the Balance, K-2 is full of sample activities and classroom vignettes that paint a picture of what these shifts look like in action with roomful of learners.
The book has already helped countless educators by taking the guesswork out of how to blend best practices with the latest research while keeping students at the forefront of reading instruction. "We've written this book to support you in making sound decisions anchored in the best of science, the truth of responsiveness, and a relentless focus on providing all children learning experiences saturated with meaning," the authors write.
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Who's Doing the Work?
Best-selling authors Dr. Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris rethink traditional teaching practices in Who's Doing the Work: How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More. They review some common instructional mainstays such as read-aloud, guided reading, shared reading, and independent reading and provide small, yet powerful, adjustments to help hold students accountable for their learning.
Next generation reading instruction is much more responsive to student needs and aims to remove some of the scaffolding that can hinder reader development. Instead of relying on teacher prompts, Who's Doing the Work asks teachers to have students take ownership of their reading by managing their challenges independently and working through any plateaus they encounter.
Whether you are an elementary teacher, literacy coach, reading specialist, or parent, Who's Doing the Work provides numerous examples on how to readjust the reading process and teach students to gain proficiency and joy in their work.
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Preventing Misguided Reading
With over 50 years of collective reading experience, authors Jan Burkins and Melody Croft bring their expertise to Preventing Misguided Reading: Next Generation Guided Reading Strategies. The authors present personal clarifications, adaptations, and supports that have helped them work through the tricky parts as they guide readers in the classroom.
Inside, each of the six chapters clarifies a misunderstanding about guided reading instruction in the following areas:
Teacher's Role and Gradual Release of Responsibility
Instructional Reading Level
With 27 strategies, Burkins and Croft will help you reframe your way of thinking about teaching reading and act on "revisioning" strategically.
Shifting the Balance, Grades 3–5
In this much anticipated follow-up to their groundbreaking book, Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom, authors Jan Burkins and Kari Yates, together with co-author Katie Cunningham, extend the conversation in Shifting the Balance, Grades 3-5: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Upper Elementary Classroom. This new text is built in mind specifically for grades 3-5 teachers around best practices for the intermediate classroom.
Shifting the Balance, Grades 3-5 introduces six more shifts across individual chapters that:
Zoom in on a common (but not-as helpful-as-we-had-hoped) practice to reconsider
Untangle a number of “misunderstandings” that have likely contributed to the use of the common practice
Propose a more science-aligned shift to the current practice
Provide solid scientific research to support the revised practice
Offer a collection of high-leverage, easy-to-implement instructional routines to support the shift to more brain-friendly instruction
The authors offer a refreshing approach that is respectful, accessible, and practical – grounded in an earnest commitment to building a bridge between research and classroom practice. As with the first Shifting the Balance, they aim to keep students at the forefront of reading instruction.
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When teachers talk about what they want for students, “a love for reading” is inevitably near the top of the list. Even as they work to ensure students’ continuing progress as readers, what ignites passion more than anything is the chance to instill confidence, curiosity, and joy in students. In Reading Wellness, Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris will remind you why you became a teacher in the first place. They want children and teachers to thrive as readers, to feel the deep satisfaction that comes with meaningful encounters with texts. They define reading wellness as “weaving together all the facets of our reading lives . . . so that we can be our best reading selves.” Readers read for relaxation, for information, and for aesthetic experience, discovering favorite books and authors and learning to choose texts. For this to happen, teachers must teach in ways that create energy and enthusiasm for reading, even as they teach to required standards.
Built around a framework of four intentions—alignment, balance, sustainability, and joy—Reading Wellness offers teachers a series of lessons that help children read closely and carefully while still honoring their interests, passions, and agency as readers. The lessons here, which have been field-tested in grades 1–5, are interconnected and empower classroom communities, are filled with anecdotes and insights, and are practical, sustainable, and frequently joyful.
Reading Wellness encourages each teacher to shape these ideas in ways that support personal ideals and goals while nurturing a love of reading and a passion for lifelong learning.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion