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Widening the Lens:

Integrating Multiple Approaches to Support Adolescent Literacy

Deborah Vriend Van Duinen and Erica R. Hamilton


Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publish Date: February 23, 2024
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0807769029
ISBN-13: 1978-0807769027

“The authors use their widened lens metaphor to describe three key approaches: science of reading, whole language, and balanced literacy. Their descriptions help readers situate themselves in the field and determine which parts of each approach will best serve their students…. This is a book I wish I had owned as a preservice teacher and in my early years of teaching, and it is a book I’m excited to share with the teachers I work with now.”

— From the Foreword by Julie Bell
Associate Professor of Teacher Education
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Drawing on an asset-based approach to adolescents and their literacy practices, this book is a powerful resource for secondary teachers across all content areas. The authors encourage a “widened lens” approach that considers varied perspectives and research findings when engaging in multiple and often competing initiatives, issues, and pedagogies. Using examples from their own and others’ classroom experiences, the authors explore numerous theoretical and practical understandings of literacy to inform classroom instruction. They discuss different theories of literacy instruction and the ways that sociocultural and cognitive approaches to literacy like the Science of Reading and Whole Language can work in concert with each other. Readers will find relevant information about adolescents’ multiliteracies, text selection and complexity, and meeting the needs of diverse learners. With suggested resources, teaching strategies, and discussion questions throughout, this is an ideal text for teacher education courses, professional learning communities, and professionals who want to learn more about how to support adolescents’ literacy development.


Deborah Van Duinen

Deborah Vriend Van Duinen is a professor of English Education at Hope College, Holland, Michigan.

Erica R. Hamilton

Erica R. Hamilton is an associate professor of literacy studies at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan.


“This timely book provides an integrated, multifaceted approach to adolescent literacy instruction. Chock full of strategies for preservice and beginning educators, the authors create a much-needed guide for navigating the complexities of adolescent literacy, including skill development, engagement and motivational factors, as well as disciplinary demands that cross subject areas.”

— Hiller A. Spires,
Executive director and professor emerita, North Carolina State University