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Book, Head, Heart (BHH)


BHH is Book, Head, Heart.  Taken from Disruptive Thinking - Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst


In this professional resource for K–12 educators, they frame reading as transformational rather than simply a practice of decoding, recalling, and responding to questions. This timely book is being released as many people are becoming aware that today's complex media landscape has made it more important than ever for young people to become not only skillful readers, but also responsive, responsible, and compassionate readers.


It's not enough to teach students how to read and analyze text. We have to also reach their hearts.


They write, "...if we aren't reading and writing so that we can grow, so that we can discover, so that we can change - change our thinking, change ourselves, perhaps help change the world - then those skills will be for naught." (p. 20)


Read more:

Another article summing it all up:


Two excerpts:


This past year, I have struggled with getting students to think about the text. The close reading and textual evidence required to support ideas has turned my students into miners of textual evidence. They look for text details to support claims. Yay! you might say. They are successfully reading and answering rigorous questions. Yes, I am proud of their accomplishments, but my concern is that they are not thinking about the text. They don't question how the content relates to their lives. They are not responding emotionally to the content, the types of emotions that inspire them to take action and change their world. Without these connections, they don't develop an appreciation for reading and become lifelong readers


BOOK, HEAD, HEART relates to the emotional response, the making of personal connections that can change a person and give reading a purpose, inspiring a desire to read more. Beers and Probst suggest that “€œreading is about growing, about changing who we are, about helping us see ourselves in the world from a slightly different perspective”€ (p. 69). This type of reading changes people, builds compassion, and requires affirmation or adjustment to the readers’€™ beliefs. It encourages change our youths’€™ lives and the world.

Notice that the concepts, although presented separately, are intertwined. You cannot think without connecting to the meaning of the text. You cannot feel without responding to what the text says, creating a balance of close reading and personal connections.

Disrupting Thinking presents a vision of what reading has the potential to be, emphasizing that it is a "changemaker," and students' responses to their reading are crucial to the reading process. It provides specific strategies educators can use to teach students how to be:


  • responsive readers who are aware of their own emotions and reactions while reading
  • responsible readers who think about what the text means for others, society, and themselves,
  • compassionate readers who, through reading, develop empathy that helps them understand others


Helping students of all skill levels become responsible, responsive, compassionate readers is the point of teaching reading.  Who cares about comprehension without understanding?  What’s the point of decoding if we don’t connect to the ink on the page?


Kylene Beers, past president of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), says, "When we truly engage with what we are reading, we are fundamentally changed as human beings. We learn new facts and perspectives, discover when to question our own reactions, understand the responses of others, and much more. We are never the same after we deeply engage with text. Disrupting Thinking guides educators to encourage that transformation in their students."


"Disrupting Thinking urges educators to innovate and change their approach to literacy as a means for helping all kids become the informed and well-rounded global citizens that they need to be."






You share with kids that good readers consider what's in the book, this work coming from many teacher researchers, but my faves to the likes of Fountas and Pinnell and Kelly Gallagher:


    • What's this about?
    • Who's telling the story?
  • What does the author want me to know?



Next, you teach students to think about what's in their head, this work coming from Lousie Rosenblatt, Nancie Atwell, and Donald Graves:

  • What surprised me?
  • What does the author thinking I already know?
  • What changed, challenged, or confirmed my thinking?
  • What did I notice?




Finally, you add a third component, my favorite part! Penny Kittle, Georgia Heard and others help us look at what's in your heart:

  • What did I learn about me?
  • How will this help me to be better?
  • What life lessons did I learn?
  • What did I take to heart?
  • How did it make me feel?


It's a great framework for helping students think through text, thinking that includes their own feelings and thinking that can make them more compassionate people, which will lead us to create even better citizens.



My Google Folder:


Video of Beers and Probst: