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Rigorous Reading

5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts

Rigorous Reading by Nancy Frey
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"With Rigorous Reading Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey have provided literacy educators who are committed to successfully raising the bar with solutions that make sense.  The book is masterfully developed with an extensive reach across many grade levels in terms of defining what it means to provide intentional instruction and teaching text complexity.  The five access points are discussed pragmatically with evidence of a solid research base deftly woven throughout the book.  This is the most practical book I have come across in terms of providing teachers with the knowledge base and assistance many are seeking to improve their instruction with regard to complex texts."
- Steven L. Layne, Ed.D., Professor of Literacy Education, Judson University, Elgin, IL

What it really means to “read closely.”

Call it close reading, call it deep reading, call it analytic reading—call it what you like. The point is, it’s a level of understanding that students of any age can achieve with the right kind of instruction. In Rigorous Reading, Nancy Frey and Doug Fisher articulate an instructional plan so clearly, and so squarely built on research, that teachers, schools, and districts need look no further: 

  1. Purpose & Modeling
  2. Close & Scaffolded Reading Instruction
  3. Collaborative Conversations
  4. An Independent Reading Staircase
  5. Performance

Also included are illustrative classroom video and an online Facilitator’s Guide.

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is Professor of Literacy in the Department of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. The recipient of the 2008 Early Career Achievement Award from the National Reading Conference, she is also a teacher-leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College and a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California.
Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is the recipient of an IRA Celebrate Literacy Award, NCTE’s Farmer Award for Excellence in Writing, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education.  Doug can be reached at

SAGE Publications; September 2013
256 pages; ISBN 9781483332086
Read online, or download in secure EPUB or secure PDF format
Title: Rigorous Reading
Author: Nancy Frey; Douglas B. Fisher