Cris Tovani's "Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?" The book is excessively easy to read, and sometimes I feel offended by the assumption that I don't teach reading and by the level of the book readings. My first year as a teacher I learned that students struggle with science vocabulary and my sentence structure. That first year one student said to me "Now you're just making up words, Ms. McCarron." So I have been helping students decode new words, breaking down sentences, and generally slowing down to allow for their understanding for all my years as a teacher. Not depending on a textbook and using alternative texts to increase literacy and understanding in science is integral to my teaching.
Tovani's book does, however, articulate how these alternative texts can be better organized, and describes other types of texts that I might want to consider adding. Organizing text sets into unit groupings will help me remember to make what I have been using more readily available, and will encourage me to fill them out more. Text sets I already use are field guides, narrative expositories, scientist journals, newspaper and magazine articles, web resources, and excerpts of books. What I need to do now is 1) place what I have into an organized system, 2) fill out the units with more material, and 3) incorporate reading materials that are a bit easier as what I have tends toward the more sophisticated writings.