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Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 6-12

by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, John Hattie and Marisol Thayre Corwin Press
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Pbk 232 pages
AU$67.00 NZ$68.70
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It could happen at 10:10 a.m. in the midst of analyzing a text, at 2:00, when listening to a students’ debate, or even after class, when planning a lesson. The question arises: How do I influence students’ learning–what’s going to generate that light bulb Aha-moment of understanding?


In this sequel to their megawatt best seller Visible Learning for Literacy, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie help you answer that question by sharing structures and tools that have high-impact on learning, and insights on which stage of learning they have that high impact.


With their expert lessons, video clips, and online resources, you can design reading and writing experiences that foster in your students deeper and more sophisticated expressions of literacy:


  • Mobilizing Visible Learning: Use lesson design strategies based on research that included 500 million plus students to develop self-regulating learners able to “see” the purpose of what they are learning—and their own progress.

  • Teacher Clarity: Articulate daily learning intentions, success criteria, and other goals; understand what your learners understand, and design high-potency experiences for all students.

  • Direct Instruction: Embrace modeling and scaffolding as a critical pathway for students to learn new skills and concepts.

  • Teacher-Led Dialogic Instruction: Guide reading, writing, listening, speaking, and thinking by using strategic questioning and other teacher-led discussion techniques to help learners to clarify thinking, discuss, debate, and goal-set.

  • Student-Led Dialogic Learning: Promote intellectual, social, and creative growth with peer-mediated learning experiences that transfer to other subject areas, including history, science, math, and the visual and performing arts.

  • Independent Learning: Ensure that students deepen learning by designing relevant tasks that enable them to think metacognitively, set goals, and develop self-regulatory skills.

  • Tools to Use to Determine Literacy Impact: Know what your impact truly is with these research-based formative assessments for 6-12 learners.


With Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom, take your students from surface to deep to transfer learning. It’s all about using the most effective practices—and knowing WHEN those practices are best leveraged to maximize student learning.



Chapter 1: Mobilizing Visible Learning for Literacy

Visible Learning for Literacy

Components of Effective Literacy Learning

Adolescent Literacy: Reading

Adolescent Literacy: Reading

Knowledge of How Students Learn


Developmental View of Learning  




Meaningful Experiences and Social INteraction  




Surface, Deep, and Transfer of Learning  


What Students Need


Scheduling Instructional Time  




Time Orgainzation  




Across a Week  


Spotlight on Three Teachers


Chapter 2: Teacher Clarity

Understanding Expectations in Standards

Learning Intentions in Literacy


Student Ownership of Learning Intentions  




Connecting Learning INtentions to Prior Knowledge  




Make Learning Intentions Inviting and Engaging  




Social Learning Intentions  


Success Critieria in Literacy


Success Criteria are Crucial for Motivation  



Chapter 3: Direct Instruction


Teacher Modeling


Pair with Think-Alouds  




The "I and "Why" of Think Alouds  


Students Should Think Aloud, Too

Checking for Understanding


Use Questions to Probe Student Thinking  


Guided Instruction


Formative Evaluation During Guided Instruction  


Independent Learning


Fluency Building  








Spiral Review  








Chapter 4: Teacher-Led Dialogic Instruction

Effective Talk, Not Just Any Talk

Foster Deep Learning and Transfer

Listen Carefully

Facilitate and Guide Discussion

Teacher-Led Tools For Dialogic Instruction


Anticipation Guides  




Pinwheel Discussions  




Opinion Stations  


Close and Critical Reading

Scaffolded Reading with Small Groups


Chapter 5: Student-Led Dialogic Learning

Student-led Dialogic Learning

The Social and Behavioral Benefits of Peer Assisted Learning

Fostering Collaborative Discussions

Teach Students to Develop Their Own Questions

Student-Led Tools for Dialogic Learning






Gallery Walks  




Book Clubs  




Readers Theatre  




Reciprocal Teaching  




Peer Tutoring  



Chapter 6: Independent Learning

Reading Conferences

Finding Flow

Learning Words Independently

Independently Working with Words

Building Fluent Readers

Independent Writing


Power Writing  




Extended Writing Prompts  


Big Ideas about Independent Learning

Does it Promote Metacognition

Does it Promote Goal-setting?


Does it Promote Self-regulation?  



Chapter 7: Tools to Use in Determining Literacy Impact

Do You Know Your Impact?

Do You Know your Collective Impact?

Assessing Background Knowledge


Informal Reading Inventories  




Reading Fluency  


Metacomprhension Strategies Index (MSI)

Assessing Attitudes Toward Reading

Assessing Writing


Assessing Writing Fluency  




Assessing Spelling  




Assessing Writing Holistically  


Literacy Design Collaborative Student Work Rubrics

Why Assess? Know Your Impact


Compendium of Assessments

Compendium 1. Cloze Passage

Compendium 2. Sample close procedure answer key

Compendium 3. Sample vocabulary matching assessment for literary devices

Compendium 4. Metacomprehension Strategy Index student form

Compendium 5. Metacomprehension Strategies index administration and scoring directions

Compendium 6. Reader Sefl-Perception Scale 2 Student Response Sheet

Compendium 7. Reader Self-Perception Scale 2 Administration and Scoring Directions

Compendium 8. Class record of writing fluency

Compendium 9. Developmental Spelling Analysis Screeining Inventory

Compendium 10. Developmental Spelling Analysis Screening Inventory




Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is the recipient of an IRA Celebrate Literacy Award, NCTE’s Farmer Award for Excellence in Writing, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education.


Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is Professor of Literacy in the Department of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. The recipient of the 2008 Early Career Achievement Award from the National Reading Conference, she is also a teacher-leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College and a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California.


Dr. John Hattie has been Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, since March 2011. He was previously Professor of Education at the University of Auckland. His research interests are based on applying measurement models to education problems. He is president of the International Test Commission, served as advisor to various Ministers, chaired the NZ performance based research fund, and in the last Queens Birthday awards was made “Order of Merit for New Zealand” for services to education. He is a cricket umpire and coach, enjoys being a Dad to his young men, besotted with his dogs, and moved with his wife as she attained a promotion to Melbourne. Learn more about his research at color=blue>www.corwin.com/visiblelearning.


Marisol Thayre has a multifaceted range of teaching experience, from the middle and high school to university level. She earned her M.A. in English and Composition from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is BCLAD and Leading Edge certified, and has experience teaching a large scope of students from various backgrounds. Marisol is especially interested in how students use different types of media to develop their own expertise as writers. Recently, Marisol has begun to share her knowledge with other teachers across the country as a presenter on Gradual Release of Responsibility, differentiated instruction, close reading and collaborative grouping. Marisol currently teaches English at Health Sciences High and Middle College, a charter school in San Diego.