Tim Pressley discusses the newest edition of Reading Instruction that Works- The Case for Balanced Teaching:  An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Tim Pressley discusses the newest edition of Reading Instruction that Works- The Case for Balanced Teaching:  An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

We are fast approaching Father’s Day, and I believe Tim Pressley has honored his late father’s memory and work with the very best present of all. He co-authored the newest edition of Reading Instruction That Works (5th edition). Most folks know of his father, Michael Pressley. He is the creator of the idea of Balanced Literacy. Tim & his co-authors have continued his father’s legacy with a well-written, well-researched book that both carries on his father’s work and adapts it to the current landscape of literacy instruction.

Here is some information about Tim:

Tim Pressley, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at Christopher Newport University and is a faculty member for the university’s master’s in teaching program and the Center for Education Research and Policy. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Florida State University and has a background in elementary education. Before receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Pressley was an elementary school teacher, a driving force behind his research. His current research focuses on teachers’ lives, specifically the impact of COVID-19 on teachers, teacher effectiveness, and teacher burnout. His work has been published in Educational Researcher, Teaching and Teacher Education, School Psychology, and The Teacher Educator.

Additionally, he has co-authored the most recent edition of Reading Instruction that Works: The Case for Balanced Teaching. He is currently co-authoring a book focused on K-12 schools post-COVID-19 (coming late 2023/early 2024). He hopes his research gives teachers a voice on aspects impacting teacher’s lives.

Interviewing Tim was a genuine pleasure. He presents us with the real version of Balanced Literacy. He notes that his goal in this book is to update the book’s research and make the book more teacher friendly. He has succeeded in doing both. Balanced Literacy is so much more than just promoting a love of books. Tim’s explanation of the book’s content clarifies that Balanced Literacy is nothing like the strawman version of BL often given by folks attacking BL. In this newest edition, Tim outlines how Balanced Literacy includes the direct and explicit teaching of phonics and provides a complete and systematic look at how comprehension can be taught. Every chapter of the book includes great teaching practices and recent research backing up those practices. It documents the fact that Balanced Literacy (Balanced Teaching) not only works but also involves teaching children in a way that they get the instruction that fits their particular needs. He calls special attention to the newest chapter in the book. It is Chapter 9, Reading Instruction for Emergent Bilinguals, by Ana Taboada Barber. Tim is correct in his assessment that there is much new and valuable information in that chapter. Overall, this new edition of the book is both teacher-friendly and child friendly. As he notes in the interview, as a parent, he wants Balanced Literacy for his child as she grows up.

Here is a link to the YouTube interview:

Here are the talking points from the interview:

Here is a link to buying the book. When I bought my hard copy today, I also purchased the e-book copy. The cost to add the e-book is minimal.  LINK

Link to Dr. Pressley’s website LINK

Link to Dr. Pressley on Research Gate LINK

Final Thoughts About This Interview.

Tim is not trying to force his views on anyone. He is not trying to pass laws outlawing all competing practices. Instead, he is presenting educators and parents with effective ways to meet the needs of their students. Tim is leaving the decision on what practices to use to the teachers and administrators to make after reviewing the considerable research presented in each chapter. It is not the strawman version of Balanced Literacy presented in some newspapers and social media accounts. It is not a one size fits all answer. It is most definitely a research-based answer. As I’ve been saying for quite some time, consider all the research before deciding your best course of action around these issues.

Ending with Mary Howard’s Inspirational words

With all the meanness and vitriol plaguing the latest discussions on the best ways to teach reading, it was refreshing to hear a voice of reason like Tim’s. In addition to Tim, my very good friend and colleague, Mary Howard, had some things to say about the current literacy world situation. I hope everyone takes the time to listen to and follow her advice. It’s time for common sense and common ground in literacy discussion.

“We are at a crossroads, my friends. The world of Literacy is not doing well, and it needs us to give it a gentle nudge back to life.”

Mary Howard, June 2023

Here is the link to her full blog entry LINK. I think you will find Mary’s thoughts both moving and informative.

Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2023 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely this author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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