Thinking Reading: What every secondary teacher needs to know about reading

Thinking Reading: What every secondary teacher needs to know about reading

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If you are interested in purchasing multiple copies of this title, please email Alex via to discuss reduced rates. Copies can be ordered and paid for via invoice rather than credit card.

Despite the efforts of teachers and educators, every year secondary schools across the English-speaking world turn out millions of functionally-illiterate leavers. The costs in human misery and in wasted productivity are catastrophic. What can schools do to prevent this situation?

In their highly-accessible new book, James and Dianne Murphy combine more than 50 years of experience to provide teachers with a thorough, easy-to-use walk-through of the extensive research on reading and its effects on student achievement. Drawing on the work of experts from around the world, the authors explore how we learn to read, how the many myths and misconceptions around reading developed, and why they continue to persist.

Building on these foundations, chapters go on to examine how the general secondary school classroom can support all levels of reading more effectively, regardless of subject; how school leaders can ensure that their systems, practices and school culture deliver the very best literacy provision for all students; and what it takes to ensure that a racing intervention aimed at adolescent struggling readers is truly effective.

The overall message is one of great optimism: the authors demonstrate that the right of every child to learn to read is entirely achievable if schools employ the best research-driven practice.

About the authors

Dianne Murphy is a secondary school reading specialist and designer of the research-evidenced intervention Thinking Reading. She spent nine years setting up and running Literacy Centres in NZ and UK secondary schools, for students reading significantly behind. For the last three years she has been training staff to implement Thinking Reading in their schools. She is an experienced teacher with a degree in education and linguistics, and post-graduate diplomas in Special Education. Professional interests: reading instruction, instructional design, applied linguistics.

James was formerly DP, AP and HOD English, and Learning Support Co-ordinator in New Zealand and the UK. He has a research-oriented MEd and a post-graduate SEN Diploma. He is currently School Partnerships Director, Thinking Reading. Interests: instructional design, research evaluation, teacher development. He is also a writer and blogs at:


'There is a powerful moral mission at the core of 'Thinking Reading': to ensure that no child leaves school unable to read. From the start of this important book, readers know they are in the hands of experts who can bridge the gap between extensive research and what we can do as teachers and leaders in our school contexts. We are left both informed and inspired to move beyond superficial quick fixes to reading. Essential reading for anyone involved in education' --Jamie Thom, English teacher, author 'Slow Teaching'

This book combines passion and pragmatism - it makes a compelling case that with the right approach all pupils can be successful in reading and then lays out practical steps that can help ensure teachers achieve that end. It will be a useful and motivating guide for all teachers. --Doug Lemov, author (Teach Like a Champion, Reading Reconsidered, Practice Perfect), MD at Uncommon Schools.

I love this book! It is a call to arms to any secondary teacher who wishes to empower their students through effective reading instruction. The authors have combined a vast catalogue of research with clear, practical classroom application, employing empirically supported strategies to offer teachers a 'best bet' in helping students learn to read with proficiency and pleasure. --Claire Hill, head of English

James and Dianne Murphy bring together research and teaching experience to address reading difficulties in secondary school. Secondary reading is a much neglected topic and there is rising awareness that appropriate strategies and resources are sorely needed. The book fills this gap and is essential reading for any secondary teacher who is concerned about their pupils’ reading abilities but does not feel equipped to support them.’ Dr Jessie Ricketts, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London