The Power of Authentic Texts: Effective Pathways to Developing a Reading Culture and Student Success

By Spenser Stevens | April 22 2020 | General

The spring of each school year can be an anxious time. Your district’s test scores arrive, and reading scores may not have improved enough to meet your goals. The education team at Penguin Random House understands your concerns for staff and students. To support you, we’ve asked three experienced educators to write a white paper on the subject, The Power of Authentic Texts: Effective Pathways to Developing a Reading Culture and Student Success.


Written in three parts, this paper illustrates the most effective pathway to developing skilled readers: use the best books.


  • Part 1: The Power of Authentic Literature
    Dr. Molly Ness, Professor of Education at Fordham University in New York City and author of Think Big with Think-Alouds, opens the white paper by sharing her journey as a reader. She includes her work with teachers and the research that supports the efficacy of using the finest books in elementary, middle, and high school.
  • Part 2: Yes! Books Matter: A Teacher’s Perspective
    Laura Robb, literacy coach, teacher, and author of more than 35 books on literacy, shares examples of the progress striving readers make when they use books for daily independent and instructional reading.
  • Part 3: Be a Reading Principal: Create a Culture of Reading in Your School
    Evan Robb, Principal of Johnson Williams Middle School in Berryville, Virginia, and author of four books for administrators, offers you a map for transitioning to using books across the curriculum. Evan suggests how to get started and move forward with an initiative to create a school full of readers and closes his piece with 10 ways to foster reading in your school.

Taking the first steps to change can be challenging. Read the white paper. Share it with administrators and teachers. And then, together, develop a plan to build a culture that will improve all students’ literacy skills and increase their joy in reading.

—The Penguin Random House Education Team

Download the Power of Authentic Texts now!