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Unison Reading

Unison Reading
Socially Inclusive Group Instruction for Equity and Achievement

Foreword by David R. Olson, Afterword by Edmund W. Gordon

© 2011 | 168 pages | Corwin

"This book's strong research base, as well as the knowledge that a school can use this method with success, speaks volumes about the possibilities for success using Unison Reading."
—Dolores M. Hennessy
New Milford Public Schools, CT

"This could be the most innovative approach to reading instruction I've come across in the last 20 years. It has the potential to transform classroom practice, enabling students to meet the highest quality standards of reading instruction. A must-read."
—Susan B. Neuman, Professor
University of Michigan, School of Education, Ann Arbor, MI

A revolutionary breakthrough in reading instruction that benefits ALL students!

When teachers give students an equal opportunity to learn, children flourish. Unison Reading is a novel approach to literacy instruction that creates a more equitable learning experience and advances students' reading abilities. Unison Reading engages students as they read content of their choice aloud in small, diverse groups. Tested and proven effective in a PreK–8 Title I school, Unison Reading:

  • Builds on the premise that reading is fundamentally a social activity, and texts are expressions of social purposes
  • Organizes learning around children's self-chosen interests
  • Fosters confidence, relationships, and collaboration between students
  • Maximizes children's opportunities to communicate with and learn from others
  • Redistributes responsibility for learning from the teacher to the students

This innovative guidebook includes principles for practice, teacher testimonials, and an appendix with ready-to-use forms. Cynthia McCallister's groundbreaking work addresses frequently asked questions from educators and clearly demonstrates how Unison Reading benefits all students.


Foreword by David R. Olson
About This Book
About the Author
1. What is Unison Reading? The Method
Unison Reading: A Pedagogical Revolution  
The Unison Reading Method  
The Unison Reading Record  
Children's Self-Responsibility and Accountability  
Getting Started With Unison Reading  
Conclusion: "Chew Food Taste Better"  
2. Unison Reading as a Program of Instruction: Classroom Implementation
Unison Reading: Principles for Practice  
Classroom Implementation  
Summarizing Procedures for Implementation  
Conclusion: The Paradox of Rules  
3. Distinctions and Differences: How Unison Reading Breaks the Mold
The Aims of Reading  
Group Reading Instruction: Traditions and Conventions  
Redefining Reading Instruction: Unison Reading as a New Space for Learning  
An Examination of Unison Reading Principles  
A Pedagogy for Reading  
4. "A Seat at the Table": How Unison Reading Supports Every Child
Raising Strong Readers From the Start: Unison Reading in Kindergarten and First Grade  
Unison Reading in Content Areas: Maximizing Learning in Middle School  
English Language Learners and the Pull of a "Cool" Text  
Re-Engaging Reluctant and Avoidant Adolescent Readers  
Re-Entry: Mainstreaming Students With Special Needs Into the General Education Classroom  
Unison Reading Is Good for Everybody: The Advantages of Diverse Learning Groups  
"Unison Reading Makes Teachers Reading Teachers": What We Ourselves Can Learn at the Table  
5. Conclusion: Unison Reading as Consciousness Raising
A Concluding Story: Unison Reading at the Jacob Riis School Conclusion  
Afterword by Edmund W. Gordon
Appendix A. Forms
Appendix B. Forms

"This book’s strong research base, as well as the knowledge that a school can use this method with success, speaks volumes to the success rate of using Unison Reading."

Dolores M. Hennessy, Reading Specialist
New Milford Public Schools, CT

"This book offers the promise of an effective approach to reading instruction based on sound theory and substantial research. It is a powerful antidote to the hyper-focus on low level reading skills."

Curt Dudley-Marling, Professor
Lynch School of Education, Boston College, MA

“Cynthia McCallister reminds us to stop labeling children and to begin listening to them and learning from them. Above all, the author highlights the importance of camaraderie, respect and support as children learn to read in the company of their peers.”

Shelley Harwayne, Author and Educational Consultant
New York, NY

"As the principal who collaborated with McCallister to pilot the implementation of Unison Reading on a PK-8 schoolwide basis, I have witnessed firsthand its true power to dramatically raise reading achievement. Growth of students in all grades outpaced the national norm, and our lowest performing students' achievement rates have been even more dramatic. Unison Reading, if brought to a larger scale, can close the achievement gap.”

Kerry Rutishauser, Principal
The Jacob Riis School—P.S. 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology, New York City Department of Education

“Cynthia McCallister’s Unison Reading boldly proposes and shows how to achieve a deep change of theory and practice in the acquisition and development of reading. It promises to live up to its subtitle and build socially inclusive classrooms producing equity and achievement. And, most exciting of all, this uncommon sense approach will banish boredom and bring joy and excitement back to the reading class."

John S. Mayher, Professor Emeritus
New York University
Key features
This resource contains:
  • An innovative model strongly embedded in theory, but with specific examples to show how it works in real classrooms and with all children, including delayed and reluctant readers and English language learners.
  • Vignettes illustrating unison reading in practice, and data showing its effectiveness in a K-8 pilot program
  • Strong and much needed research base uniting social construction theories with reading pedagogy
  • Unison reading prompts as compared to traditional reading comprehension prompts
  • Guidelines and reproducible forms for implementing the unison reading approach at the classroom and school-wide level


Sample Materials & Chapters

Foreword by David R. Olson


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ISBN: 9781412986649