The Evidence Base for Making Meaning with Book Clubs

9/1/2022: The Making Meaning program was discontinued as the Being a Reader program expanded to grades 3–5. Now a comprehensive K–5 curriculum, Being a Reader contains the same powerful reading comprehension instruction and small-group reading previously found in Making Meaning and Book Clubs. Click here to learn more.

Level 4 – Demonstrates a Rationale

Evidence Base for Making Meaning with Book Clubs

Recommended Instructional PracticesMaking Meaning with Book Clubs Program Features (3–6)Sources
Teach Comprehension Strategies● Teach and model how to use reading comprehension strategies: question generation, summarization, visualization, clarification, and prediction
● Teach reading comprehension strategies through a gradual release of responsibility
● Comprehension strategies taught with the goal of having the students apply the strategies to their independent reading (using schema, making connections, retelling, visualizing, questioning, using text features, making inferences, determining important ideas, analyzing text structure, summarizing, and synthesizing)
● Development of metacognitive awareness through teacher modeling and guided, independent practice
● Individualized Daily Reading (IDR) conferences
IES Practice Guides:
K–3 Reading (2010)

Adolescent Literacy (2008)

National Reading Panel:
Teaching Children to Read (2000)
Facilitate Text Discussion, Speaking and Listening, and Social Skills● Guide students through focused, high-quality discussion of the meaning of text
● Give students the opportunity to learn by collaborating with their peers
● Discussions of texts are focused using thoughtful, open-ended questions
● Development of students’ listening and speaking skills
● Cooperative structures and partner activities
● Students share and support their opinions with evidence from the text
● Students respond to literature in their book discussions to learn new things about themselves and others, apply what they have learned to their own lives, see the world in new ways, and bring new understanding to what they read
IES Practice Guide: Adolescent Literacy (2008)
Engage Students in Shared Reading● Provide repeated oral reading with feedback and guidance to develop fluency, including questioning the text, providing feedback to students, repeating, expanding, and modelingDuring interactive read-alouds:
● The teacher models fluent reading and uses
comprehension strategies. “Thinking Tools” used to guide students through texts are also modeled
● Students wonder and answer questions before, during, and after a read-aloud to make sense of texts
National Reading Panel:
Teaching Children to Read (2000)

National Early Literacy Panel: Developing Early Literacy (2008)
Teach About Text Features and Genres● Teach students to identify and use the text’s organizational structure
to comprehend, learn, and remember content
● Teach reading comprehension with multiple genres
● Text features, text structure, and story elements (e.g., sequencing, setting, theme, character, problem and solution, compare/ contrast, cause/ effect) are used to unpack different genres
● Genres taught: fiction, expository nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, drama, and poetry
IES Practice Guide:
K–3 Reading (2010)
Provide Explicit Instruction and Connected, Independent Reading● Provide both explicit instruction in specific comprehension strategies and a great deal of time and opportunity for actual reading, writing, and discussion of text
● Ensure that each student reads connected text every day to support reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension
● Give students reading choices
Individualized Daily Reading:
● Students read independently in self-selected texts at their independent reading levels
● The teacher confers with individual students, helping them select appropriate books and assessing and supporting their reading
IES Practice Guides: Foundational Skills (2016)

K–3 Reading (2010)
Support Academic Language and Vocabulary Knowledge● Teach students academic language skills, including the use of inferential and narrative language and vocabulary
● Provide explicit and indirect vocabulary instruction
● Introduction of challenging vocabulary embedded in read-alouds
Vocabulary Teaching Guide:
● Explicit instruction of Tier 2 vocabulary words and independent word-learning strategies
(e.g., affixes, antonyms, synonyms, multiple-meaning words, context clues, idioms, roots, and compound words)
● The teacher is alerted at the start of each lesson to address vocabulary terms and definitions that will be used with students
IES Practice Guides: Adolescent Literacy (2008)

Foundational Skills (2016)

National Reading Panel:
Teaching Children to Read (2000)

National Early Literacy Panel: Developing Early Literacy (2008)
Provide Assessment and Differentiation● Provide time for differentiated reading instruction for all students based on assessments of students’ current reading levels
● Adjust instruction or differentiate instruction based on assessments of student progress
Placement and Grouping Support:
● Placement and Grouping Support Record
Formative Assessments:
● Class Assessments
● Individualized Daily Reading (IDR) Conferences
● Group Discussion Observation for Small-Group Reading and Book Clubs
● Exit tickets and recordings of book club discussions
Summative Assessments:
● Social Skills Assessments
● Individual Comprehension Assessments
● Small-group or individual project-based assessment
IES Practice Guides:
RTI (2009)

K–3 Reading (2010)

Connecting Making Meaning and Book Clubs to Hattie’s High Yield Practices

Guided by the work of Fisher, Frey, and Hattie (2016), the table below identifies the most prominent influences that occur in the Making Meaning and Book Clubs programs and their corresponding effect sizes. To keep the table concise, effect sizes greater than .40 are listed with a brief explanation.

High Yield Practices Embedded in the Making Meaning and Book Clubs Programs 

ES + InfluenceExplanation
.82 Classroom Discussion● Facilitation questions and discussion prompts 
● Open-ended questions invite a variety of responses and encourage students to listen and respect the ideas of others
● Wait time gives students the chance to think before responding and encourage participation 
.75 Feedback● Teacher-Student conferences provide regular opportunities for individualized feedback
.72 Teacher-Student Relationships● Consistent, clear instruction builds trust
● Teachers build strong relationships with students and facilitate and strengthen relationships among students
● Students learn procedures in which they are responsible to one another; they regularly discuss and solve problems related to their work together
● Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and to be aware of the effect of their behavior on others
.69 Metacognitive Strategies● Students learn to self-monitor to check their comprehension
● Students learn to self-correct by going back and reading more carefully, looking for information in illustrations, and searching for clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words
.67 Vocabulary Programs● Vocabulary lessons teach high-utility words found in or suggested by the read-aloud texts
● Strategies that can be used to unlock word meanings when reading independently are taught
.65 Prior Achievement● Lessons include ways to draw on students’ experiences, backgrounds, and prior knowledge and to build on those during instruction
.64 Self-Verbalization & Self-Questioning● Students are encouraged to think critically and share their ideas and opinions
● Students are encouraged to build on one another’s thinking, explore and respond to different viewpoints, and generate independent thinking
.63 Teaching Students to Summarize● A developmental build in summarizing is evident across grades, beginning with retelling and sequencing and then summarizing
.60 Comprehension Programs● Each Unit of whole-class instruction is focused on a comprehension strategy
● Reading strategies are taught directly through read-aloud experiences
● Read-alouds, strategy, and guided and independent strategy practice lessons are used to teach and practice comprehension strategies. 
.59 Direct Instruction● New strategies are explicitly introduced, modeled, and practiced
.54 Student-Centered Teaching● The program is designed with educational equity in mind to ensure every student receives what they need in order to develop to their full academic and social potential. 
● Embedded assessments inform the teacher of individual student strengths and weaknesses. 
.52 Classroom Management● Explicit instruction is provided for classroom procedures, routines, and social skills
.49 Small-Group Learning● Heterogeneous grouping and random pairing occur throughout the year
Book Clubs offers three strands: Independent Reading, Small-Group Reading, or Book Clubs, which allow for flexible student placement. 
.48 Questioning● Each grade level includes a Unit dedicated to the  Wondering/Questioning strategy. 
● Students learn to ask questions before, during, and after reading
.42 Cooperative Learning● Students engage in regular discussions to reflect on classroom values and community
● Ongoing peer partnerships and the use of cooperative structures allow students to regularly express their thinking and listen to others’ thinking
.39 Social Skills Programs● Students think about and act on five core values: responsibility, respect, caring, fairness, and helpfulness
● Students learn how their actions affect the community
● Students work in pairs, small groups, and as a class to listen and learn from one another
Fisher, D., Frey, N, & Hattie, J (2016). Visible learning for literacy, grades K–12: Implementing the practices that work best to accelerate student learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.