It has been almost a year since Shifting the Balance: Bringing the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom hit real and virtual bookshelves. We’ve been so moved by the robust response to this little book, to say the least.
Quite honestly, what started as (and remains) the scariest project of our professional lives has also turned out to be the most humbling, most rewarding, and even the most fun.
Among the many responses to the book, we were especially touched and inspired by the message we received from Katie Cunningham, just weeks after the book came out. Katie is also a writer, consultant, professor, and former upper elementary classroom teacher with a long history of passionate service to the literacy community. Katie wrote,
“This book will change the lives of countless children. It is exactly what the world needs right now. It is also what I need right now both personally and professionally.”
Professionally, Katie appreciated how Shifting the Balance made reading research digestible. It became a touchstone text for her undergraduate and graduate students to get a science-aligned start to their careers. Personally, Katie was navigating the ways her two sons were experiencing literacy learning in schools, particularly her younger son who was diagnosed with dyslexia right when Shifting the Balance came into the world.
Katie’s research into how to support teachers, her students, and her sons, coupled with her commitment to joy in the classroom (She actually wrote a book about that!), have given her expansive knowledge of and keen insight into the nexus between “balanced literacy” and “the science of reading” in 3-5 classrooms. She is passionate about the ways bringing more brain-friendly practices into upper elementary classrooms can support all students in grades 3-5, not just students with dyslexia, like her son.
So here’s the exciting news! Drum roll, please. . . .
We’re thrilled to let you know that the brilliant, kind, and dedicated Katie Cunningham is joining us to write a 3-5 version of Shifting the Balance. We are over-the-moon excited, to say the least! Just as was true with the K-2 version, we have the good fortune to pursue this project under the guidance of the Stenhouse Publishing family, and more specifically, to work with the inspired editor, Terry Thompson.
The 3-5 book will follow the same structure as the K-2 book, with each chapter built around misunderstandings and followed by high-leverage routines for making the shift. The six shifts in the 3-5 book, however, will be more specific for upper-grade students. And while the new book is really zoomed in on 3-5 practices, it will also serve as a sequel to the first, building on the foundational science we’ve already shared with you–science that we believe anyone who teaches reading, whatever the grade, needs to know and understand deeply.
Of course there are lots of factors that determine ultimate publication dates. We can’t make any promises at this point, but are well on our way and SO VERY excited about the collaboration. It just seemed time to let you know that this new book is in process.
If you want to learn more about Katie, you can read about her on her website. You can also follow her reviews of children’s literature on the blog she writes for School Library Journal with four colleagues, “The Classroom Bookshelf.”
So, for all of you who have written to us asking, “Is there going to be a Shifting the Balance for grades 3-5?” We are excited to finally tell you, “Yes, there is!” If you’re interested in receiving updates specific to this project, you can join the StB 3-5 Updates list here.
I am excited for this new book! Katie is a wonderful choice to collaborate with you both. Best to you all with your writing! The sooner this book arrives in the world, the better, but no pressure! 😉
We couldn’t be more excited! Katie brings passion, joy, wisdom and an amazing work ethic! ❤️
So excited for this ongoing learning!! I’m sure you get lots of suggestions so here’s another request – please include a shift chapter on vocabulary for k-5 and word study for 3-5. Thank you for considering!!
This is outstanding. As I was reading the first book I kept trying to ask myself, “How would this look for older students who have some of these gaps but also have a lot more skills than the beginning readers?” I kept going back to kids needing to study words. Let’s look at prefixes, suffixes and root words. Let’s learn how to take what we know to bridge into the unknown. And coupling that with specific phonics instruction on difficult word parts was where I was thinking my next steps might lead. Am I going in the right direction or am I missing a step?
We’re excited, too! You are definitely on the right track. As children move through Ehri’s phases, the work to support them changes. Beginning phonics instruction builds the foundation starting with the most common sound-spellings and moving into single syllable types in the early grades. But even after basic sound/spellings and decoding skills have been mastered, children still need intentional instruction learning to tackle increasingly complex multi-syllabic words, not just from a decoding stand point – but also including morphology, or meaningful word parts such as you mention.
Super exciting!! Can’t wait!
I am so excited to hear this! I tell all educators, regardless of the age group they serve, to read Shifting the Balance K-2. But one that is geared directly to grades 3-5 will be such a gift! Thank you for rolling up your sleeves for us…again!
We agree! Many teachers in grades 3-5 who have taken our online class or read the book tell us that the foundational understandings they took away really filled a void. Understanding how reading begins is important for all teachers of reading, regardless of the grade they teach. And in our current context, with so much unfinished learning due to Covid-19 school interruptions, this is more critical than ever, because so many teachers in the upper grades are supporting children with reading skills that are much less developed than they have typically seen in the past.
This is such fantastic news! I read Shifting the Balance and had so many lightbulb moments, even though I was working with students in grades 3-5. I even bought it for my colleague who works with ELL students because it had so many useful tips and was full of valuable information. I can’t wait to read the new book when it comes out! I currently work as a Literacy Specialist in a grade 4-6 school and your new edition sounds like it will be a great resource for our teachers. If you need any early readers, please pick me!
Thanks for your comments. We’re so glad you’ve found our work helpful in your context! We, too, are really excited about the 3-5 book.
Dream Team!! Counting down the days!
Thanks, Kristin! We’re truly excited ourselves!
Wondering when the new 3-5 book will be released?
It will be into 2023, likely spring or summer. 😊
Any updates on the 3-5 release? I would love to use it as the textbook in my teacher prep class, Instructional Practices in Reading for grades 3-6, in August 2022.
It will be likely later in 2023.
Shifting the Balance for upper elementary is going to be a game changer! We can not wait!
We think so, too! We share your excitement.