I Read It, but I Donít Get It

Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers

Cris Tovani

Media: 152 pp/paper
ISBN: 978-157110-089-4
Grade Range: K-12

Item No.: WEB0089

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Contents |  Reviews |  About the Author |  Programs Using This Title
Check out the RST professional development workshops that accompany I Read It, but I Donít Get It and the Thoughtful Reading videotapes.

I Read It, but I Donít Get It is a practical, engaging account of how teachers can help adolescents develop new reading comprehension skills. Cris Tovani is an accomplished teacher and staff developer who writes with verve and humor about the challenges of working with students at all levels of achievement -from those who have mastered the art of "fake reading" to college-bound juniors and seniors who struggle with the different demands of content-area textbooks and novels.
      Enter Crisí classroom, a place where students are continually learning new strategies for tackling difficult text. You will be taken step-by-step through practical, theory-based reading instruction that can be adapted for use in any subject area. The book features:

  • anecdotes in each chapter about real kids with real universal problems. You will identify with these adolescents and will see how these problems can be solved;
  • a thoughtful explanation of current theories of comprehension instruction and how they might be adapted for use with adolescents;
  • a What Works section in each of the last seven chapters that offers simple ideas you can immediately employ in your classroom. The suggestions can be used in a variety of content areas and grade levels(6-12);
  • teaching tips and ideas that benefit struggling readers as well as proficient and advanced readers;
  • appendixes with reproducible materials that you can use in your classroom, including coding sheets, double entry diaries, and comprehension constructors.
      In a time when students need increasingly sophisticated reading skills, this book will provide support for teachers who want to incorporate comprehension instruction into their daily lesson plans without sacrificing content knowledge.


1. Fake Reading
2. The Realities of Reading
3. Purposes for Reading: Access Tools
4. Conversations with Cantos: Tracking Confusion to Its Source
5. Fix It!
6. Connecting the New to the Known
7. What Do You Wonder?
8. Outlandish Responses: Taking Inferences Too Far
9. "Whatís the Plan?"

Appendix A: Double-Entry Diaries
Appendix B: Comprehension Constructors
Appendix C: Coding Sheets Works Cited


"Rarely does one encounter so many useful ideas for improving adolescentsí reading comprehension in so slim a volume as I Read It, but I Donít Get It. The style of this book, more narrative than a serious text, encourages rapid reading. You can read it in one sitting just for pleasure, although subsequently it will be used as a resource by teachers in the content areas. The suggestions it contains for improving adolescent readersí comprehension demand serious attention and invite revisits to the book."
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, September, 2001

About the Author 

Cris Tovani taught elementary school for ten years before becoming a high school reading specialist and English teacher. A nationally known consultant, she chooses to continue teaching high school students full-time. She has also worked for many years as a staff developer for the Denver-based Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), the consortium that has received national acclaim for its work in reading comprehension reform. In addition to teaching and consulting, she is an adjunct instructor for University of Denver and the University of Colorado at Denver.

Programs Using This Title

University Of Florida, FL
Santa Ana USD, CA
Winter Park High School, FL
Pattonville School District, MO
Montgomery Cnty Public Schools, MD
Sycamore Community School, OH
Missoula County Public Schools, MT
Manchester School District, NH
Evergreen School District, WA
Venice High School, FL
School District of Jennings, MO
Pinellas County School Board, FL
Newcastle County Vo-Tech , DE
Morro Bay High School, CA
Gauger Middle School, DE
Flint Community Schools, MI
Fitzgerald Middle School, FL
Colorado Springs District 11, CO
Blount County, AL