Phenomenal Teaching

Explore the PEBC's Phenomenal Teaching Framework.

Each episode will take a closer look how the strands of the framework come to life in classrooms and schools. Join us as we unpack Planning, Community, Workshop, Thinking Strategies, Discourse & Assessment.

Texts in These Times

We don’t want kids to leave school each day hating to read! So how do we get texts back into kids’ hands, hearts, and minds? Cris Tovani joins the Phenomenal Teaching Podcast to discuss her latest book, Why Do I Have to Read This? Literacy Strategies to Engage Our Most Reluctant Readers, and research based strategies to get students re-engaged with reading. Cris cautions us to watch out for practices that do not to support student growth and to leverage the following:

  • Volume: Increase independent reading time across the day and across subject areas ~ aim for 67 minutes each day!
  • Choice: Increase engagement by not asking every student to read the same text or complete the same task all the time ~ strive to include variety!
  • Relevancy: Increase agency by connecting content to students’ lives outside of school ~ create opportunities for ownership!
  • Curiosity: Increase understanding by leaning into student generated questions rather than teacher produced materials ~ encourage students to ask their own questions!

In addition, Cris shares strategies for designing better units and text sets. Crafting compelling topics, targets, tasks, and text sets that connect to kids increases student engagement, she offers the following planning questions:

  • Topic: What’s the point of what we are studying?
  • Targets: What do we want students to know and be able to do?
  • Tasks: What are we asking students to do or make that reflects their true understanding and emulates real world products?
  • Texts: What anchor text is going to ground our study and serve as a touchstone for everyone? What supporting texts can we offer that span perspectives, genre, and accessibility?

Cris Tovani taught first grade to seniors for 31 years. Her entire career has been spent trying to figure out the “knowing-doing” gap. Researchers tell teachers what they should be doing but actually doing it with 125+ students is a whole new ball game. Throughout her career, Cris has tried to take reading and writing research and apply it to all levels of learners. She loves sharing her success and failures with colleagues around the world so they too, can better serve students. Cris is a founder of PEBC and an internationally known consultant focusing on issues of reading, content comprehension and assessment in secondary classrooms. She has been an adjunct professor and is the author of four books: I Read it but I Don’t Get It, Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?, So, What do They Really Know?, No More Telling as Teaching: Less Lecture, More Engaged Learning and Why Do I Have to Read This?

The Phenomenal Teaching Podcast is brought to you by Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC) and is intended to elevate the strands of the PEBC Teaching Framework which is illustrated in Wendy Ward Hoffer’s book, Phenomenal Teaching. Thank you for joining us this season as we strive to share the stories of educators who are making schools and classrooms more phenomenal than ever before by implementing community, planning, workshop, thinking strategies, discourse, and assessment strategies that promote agency, equity, and understanding.


PEBC is a nonprofit organization that is proud to provide free quality content to educators. If you would like to support our work by sponsoring this podcast, please contact Michelle Jones at [email protected].

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