This volume is an attempt to synthesize the understandings we have about reading to learn. Although learning at all ages is discussed in this volume, the main focus is on middle and high school classrooms--critical spaces of learning and thinking. The amount of knowledge presented in written form is increasing, and the information we get from texts is often conflicting. We are in a knowledge explosion that leaves us reeling and may effectively disenfranchise those who are not keeping up. There has never been a more crucial time for students to understand, learn from, and think critically about the information in various forms of text. Thus, understanding what it means to learn is vital for all educators. Learning from text is a complex matter that includes student factors (social, ethnic, and cultural differences, as well as varying motivations, self-perceptions, goals, and needs); instructional and teacher factors; and disciplinary and social factors. One important goal of the book is to encourage practicing teachers to learn to consider their students in new ways--to see them as being influenced by, and as influencing, not just the classroom but the total fabric of the disciplines they are learning. Equally important, it is intended to foster further research efforts--from local studies of classrooms by teachers to large-scale studies that produce generalizable understandings about learning from text. This volume--a result of the editor's and contributors' work with the National Reading Research Center--will be of interest to all researchers, graduate students, practicing teachers, and teachers in training who are interested in understanding the issues that are central to improving students' learning from text.
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