“Cunningham and Allington’s voice and presentation style are unique, and I think this distinguishes their book from others. This book is an enjoyable and exciting read for my students. It makes them want to get out there and teach. They walk away from it with not only a sound set of teaching strategies, but a strong sense of why they would use them, and a belief that they can teach like this…Bravo!”
—Donna H. Topping, Millersville University
“[Classrooms That Work]’s strengths are the knowledge of the authors, the organization and conversational tone of the text, and the emphasis on “all children can learn”…. I believe the information presented changed my students’ perspectives on how reading and writing should be viewed and taught.”
—Brenda Bradshaw, Southwest Missouri State University
“[This book] is easy to understand. The most distinguishing feature is that it is comprehensive and less than  pages. It is practical in ways others are not.”
—Dr. Susan McBridge, California Polytechnic State University
The fourth edition of Classrooms That Work emphasizes a core set of ideas across a variety of timely topics, providing a comprehensive, balanced treatment of instructional reading methods for struggling and culturally diverse students.
Pat Cunningham and Dick Allington, with their clear and friendly writing style, emphasize the importance of promoting the integration of phonics and literature-based process writing and reading instruction to enhance ALL students’ learning and reading skills. It clarifies concepts, defines key terms, and offers just the right balance of research and practical coverage to make the content complete without being overwhelming.
This affordable book helps teachers engage all children in meaning-centered reading by fostering powerful decoding and comprehension strategies and implementing a balanced reading program. It identifies and explores five components: real reading and writing, guided reading, guided writing, decoding/spelling, and word/word knowledge.
The fourth edition is filled with workable, practical strategies and activities to use in the classroom. This book plays upon readers' natural curiosity and desire for relevance by offering a modern, applied approach to “traditional” reading topics and an in-depth look at areas of reading instruction not covered by other books. Chapters 11, 12, and 13 describe a sample day in a Building Blocks kindergarten, a sample day in a Four Blocks primary classroom, and a sample week in a Big Blocks intermediate classroom, respectively. Combined, these chapters show how all of the important components of a balanced literacy program can be integrated.
For the fourth edition, the authors have reorganized the chapters to reflect an integrative approach to literacy—this new edition starts with Creating Classrooms That Work, a chapter that summarizes the characteristics of the most effective classrooms. Other chapters on words, comprehension, writing, and assessment inform teachers of the need for a balanced approach to literacy.
There are also three new chapters in this edition:
- “Creating Enthusiastic, Independent Readers” (Chapter 2) contains ideas for helping all children become independent readers.
- “Building Vital, Vivid, and Valuable Vocabularies” (Chapter 5) describes practical strategies for building meaning vocabulary.
- “Building the Literacy Foundation” (Chapter 3) describes activities to get young children off to a successful start in reading and writing.
Meet the Authors
Patricia M. Cunningham is a professor of education at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She has taught in various elementary grades and been a curriculum coordinator and director of reading. Her major professional goal is promoting literacy for all children.
Richard L. Allington is a professor of education at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is a past president of the National Reading Conference and a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. Dick has extensively researched effective teaching and how schools can develop effective, expert teachers.