A repost of the Jill Speering interview about her newest book-Rubies in the Rubble, An Educator’s Transformation from Pain to Prominence, From Abuse to Absolution, conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

The past two months have been eventful ones for the blog. There have been over 40,000 views in that time frame. I think the interest is rising because I am making the case that constructivist methods get results with BOTH decoding and comprehension. Unlike some SOR folks who “prove” their methods are better using tests that only require reading word lists to measure comprehension  LINK (see pg. 2), constructivists use reading tests that ask students to read meaningful passages and then answer comprehension questions about those passages. In my opinion, comprehension is really the  Achilles heel of the folks taking a narrow view of the science reading. I’m not saying they don’t “teach” comprehension. I am saying that they “teach and assess” comprehension very badly using methods/strategies the rest of the reading world abandoned after Durkin’s research AND after several decades of work demonstrating that teaching comprehension strategies using gradual release REALLY raises reading achievement test scores. For more details about this, see these blogs LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK  

This week I am returning to doing interviews. Recently Jill Speering has been on the road spreading the good word about her new book. I thought I would help that effort by reposting this interview. Here it is:

A report of the Jill Speering interview about her newest book-Rubies in the Rubble, An Educator’s Transformation from Pain to Prominence, From Abuse to Absolution, conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

As an educator who has a long-standing interest in the best ways to teach beginning reading, I was very happy when I heard that Jill Speering had written her first book. Jill has many years of experience as a teacher and a teacher of teachers. Also, as you can see from her biography, Jill is a longtime advocate and supporter of Reading Recovery. She believes in creating programs that fit the child rather than forcing the children into one size fits all programs. Her book is an autobiography, and that autobiography goes well beyond the issues surrounding the best ways to teach beginning reading. It is the story of her whole life, a story of how she overcomes adversity. Here is what one reviewer had to say about this wonderful book (taken from the back cover of the book):

I have to concur. Jill’s story does show hope and promise for us all. It is a story that provides a rigorous defense of Reading Recovery. Before it does that, it also provides us with her story, which gives the reader a roadmap of how to overcome adversity. As Jill points out, overcoming adversity is something that many of the students we serve also must do if they are ever to become readers and writers. Here is a screen capture of the book’s cover and a link to the book:


Here is a link to the interview:

Here are the questions we covered. They are timestamped.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 01:19
  2. Why did you write this book? 02:35
  3. Talk to us as an author. Tell us how your background in learning about writing helped you as you wrote this book. 4:28
  4. Is the book more of a memoir or a biography? 09:33
  5. What do you feel is the most important takeaway for readers of this book? 15:06
  6. In just a few weeks, I will be presenting at LitCon, talking about why RR is a viable approach and why children deserve access to RR (that is a strong position my friend Paul Thomas has taken). Any thoughts about that? Do you agree with Paul and I on the need for children to have access to RR when needed? 15:06 (5 & 6 were covered jointly)

By the way, Jill was the keynote speaker at the Delta Kappa Gamma Educational sorority on June 2, 2022, at the University of the South at Sewanee to discuss her book (LINK). As you can tell, the book is becoming quite popular, and I again encourage you to get your copy to find out why.

FUTURE BLOGS BY DR SAM: I’m in the process of setting up more interviews of authors who are publishing new books about the teaching of reading. In the coming weeks expect more interviews about the newest books on the topic of teaching reading.

In the meantime- Happy Reading and Writing!

Copyright 2022 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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