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Beyond Retelling: Toward Higher Level Thinking and Big Ideas

Beyond Retelling: Toward Higher Level Thinking and Big IdeasPhysical Product

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  • Helps teacher and students move beyond retelling to higher level thinking and beyond low-level facts and details to big ideas. 
  • Presents a “Thinking Theme” lesson framework to implement in the classroom.
  • Illustrates how to evaluate students’ written responses and how to provide feedback from teachers and other students enabling students to revise their own writing and raise the level of their thinking.

Patricia Cunningham and Debra Renner Smith help close the literacy gap and achieve academic success for all students with
Beyond Retelling:

Toward Higher Level Thinking and Big Ideas!


To meet today’s educational demands, Patricia Cunningham and Debra Renner Smith present teachers with a framework based on years of reading research to help students attain higher level thinking skills and develop their ability to think critically about what they read. Their “Thinking Theme” lesson framework allows teachers to pose “The Big Question” and support students as they think about “The Big Idea.”  With the guidance of Pat and Deb, teachers will find their students will be able to formulate thoughtful answers to the big question and will move from proficiency to literacy achievement.


Reviewers Can’t Put This Book Down!


“In an era of phonics-based instruction, especially for students in poverty and English Language Learners, it is refreshing to see a balanced view of what good reading instruction can look like…. Additionally, the lessons described in Beyond Retelling demonstrate that all students are capable of deep thinking about their reading…. Beyond Retelling is a phenomenal book.”

                                                                        –Sheila Bostrom, Thomson Elementary, Brush, CO


“The authors have done an amazing job and have hit upon one of the biggest issues confronting teaching reading today. In a time when teachers are pressured to cover material at a lightening pace, higher level thinking skills are not being taught as they should. This book reminds us that we should be creating critical thinkers and lifelong learners…”

                                                                        –Pam B. Cole, Department Chair, Kennesaw State University


This book will become a must-read for any teacher whose state requires students to be evaluated on the higher level thinking processes of synthesis, analysis, evaluation, or application as they move through elementary and middle school!

Author's Site

Click Here to visit www.debrennersmith.com, which includes frequently updated Writing and Reading Lessons from Deb, a literacy consultant and co-author of Beyond Retelling: Toward Higher Level Thinking and Big Ideas.

Table of Contents

Chapter One  Why Higher Level Thinking?

Chapter Two  The Big Question, The Big Idea and Deep Thinking

Chapter Three  A Sample Thinking Theme Lesson

Chapter Four   Making the Concept of Theme Kid-Friendly

Chapter Five  Linking Characters to Theme

Chapter Six  Teaching Children to Write Responses about Characters and Theme

Chapter Seven   A Sample Lesson Comparing Theme Across Two Selections

Chapter Eight  Organizing for Thinking Theme Lessons Across the Year



Common Themes and Books that Support these Themes

Skeleton Charts and Checklists

Product Type: Physical Product

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