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Getting-to-Know-You Preview Stacks: A Starting Point to Expert Book Matching
—Stephanie Harvey, Annie Ward, Maggie Hoddinott, and Suzanne Carroll

About the Authors

Stephanie Harvey, president of Stephanie Harvey Consulting, has spent nearly 50 years in education as an elementary and special education teacher and literacy staff developer. A regular presenter at conferences and author of many books and resources, Steph consults with schools and districts around the world on literacy theory and practice.

Annie Ward has been assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Mamaroneck Public Schools, New York, since 2004. Prior to that, she was a local instructional superintendent for the New York City Department of Education, supervisor of curriculum and instruction for the Ridgewood, New Jersey, Public Schools, and a middle school English teacher.

Maggie Hoddinott has served as Mamaroneck’s literacy ambassador since 2015. In that role, she works to ensure all students have rich, literate lives by curating classroom libraries, matching readers with books, and fostering community partnerships. Maggie previously served as a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, and teacher of deaf/hard-of-hearing students.

Suzanne Carroll has served as Mamaroneck’s RTI coordinator and literacy intervention coach since 2017. She has been an educator for 20 years, holding the positions of classroom teacher and literacy coach. Prior to teaching, Suzanne practiced law for several years and still uses her legal training to help her analyze and solve challenges that arise in her literacy work.

Expert Idea

Getting-to-Know-You Preview Stacks

We recognize that “making the match” between reader and book—and protecting the flame once it’s lit—is a vital responsibility for anyone who champions children’s literacy development. As such, we believe whole-heartedly in “book matching relentlessly” to fuel kids’ reading lives. The use of Preview Stacks allows you to gauge interest and find just-right books for your students. This simple strategy is a game-changer for striving readers! When presented with a stack of possible reads, kids who might have appeared “passive” or “uninterested” readily offer opinions that help you understand them as readers and make targeted book recommendations. Offering kids an array of concrete choices is far more effective than probing them with abstract questions such as, “What kinds of things do you like to read?”

Teach It

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Download a guide on how use a Getting-to-Know-You Preview Stack.

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Download a Tip Sheet with ideas for how to use Preview Stacks with your striving readers in a hybrid or remote setting.

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Download the Preview Stack Prompting Guide.

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Download the Notes Form to track your data.


Watch and Learn

Watch this teacher-and-student interaction as they discuss the child’s preselected Preview Stack, followed by a reflection on the process, with Maggie Hoddinot.

Learn More

  • Read a Sample Chapter
    Click here to download an excerpt of Intervention Reinvention.
  • Order the Book
    Learn more about how to enable striving readers to engage in voluminous reading with Intervention Reinvention: A Volume-Based Approach to Reading Success.