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New Capstone Professional Book Explores Innovative Approach to Literacy

Authors Draw on Personal Experience in Chicago Area Schools

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – April 21, 2014 – Capstone Professional, publisher of professional development resources and services for preK-12 educators, announces the publication of The New Balanced Literacy School: Implementing Common Core by innovative literacy educators Margaret Mary Policastro and Becky McTague, colleagues in the College of Education at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Ill. The New Balanced Literacy School provides school-wide support on encouraging a love of reading through a new balanced literacy model grounded in best practices that aligns with Common Core.

“This is a book about how to implement the Common Core State Standards following our balanced literacy model,” said Policastro. McTague added, “Our book details what we've learned in working with schools and in helping them to improve their students' reading and writing skills. What we've found is that the more kids have access to literacy, the more they improve,” she said.

The New Balanced Literacy School provides the “how” for novice and veteran K–8 teachers, administrators, and school literacy teams with support on read-alouds, guided reading, language and literacy centers, word walls to language walls, independent reading and writing, and classroom libraries. Policastro and McTague examine their experiences and outcomes in developing balanced literacy schools, modeled after Roosevelt University's award-winning Reading Clinic. The clinic has helped hundreds of Chicago-area youths improve reading and writing skills each summer at Roosevelt's Schaumburg Campus. With help from a multi-year Illinois Board of Higher Education grant, balanced literacy schools have opened and operated over the past 12 years in Chicago and surrounding suburbs under the direction of the two Roosevelt professors. 

Karen Soll, Capstone Professional Acquisitions Editor, said, “The goal of any balanced literacy program is to support reading while building comprehension and life-long readers. In this book, Margaret Policastro and Becky McTague take that one step further by exploring the new balanced literacy model with Common Core in mind. The suggestions and routines discussed in their book are invaluable as they are based on the authors’ success stories with students.”

Policastro and McTague will present strategies from their book in a webinar on May 15. Educators can register for this free, 30-minute webinar at

For free downloads, including a table of contents, introduction, and sample chapter, visit

The book will officially launch at the International Reading Association conference in May in New Orleans.

The New Balanced Literacy School: Implementing Common Core

By Margaret Mary Policastro and Becky McTague

ISBN: 978-1-62521-629-8; $24.95 paperback                        &​nbsp; 

e-Book ISBN: 978-1-62521-935-0; $19.95 e-Book

140 pages

Pub Date: April 2014

Early Praise for The New Balanced Literacy School

"Margaret Policastro and Becky McTague have given the gift of their own language to share with the reader the insights they have gained through years of successful collaboration in both urban and suburban environments with teachers, coaches, and administrators. It is a gift that will keep on giving to the students who are our most important collaborators." –Camille L.Z. Blachowicz, PhD, Co-Director of The Reading Leadership Institute, Professor Emeritus in the College of Education, National Louis University

"Illustrates a beautiful integration of theory and practice, skill building and inspirational messaging…" –Mari Koerner, Ph.D., Dean, Arizona State University, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

"An interactive, collaborative rather than a top-down, individualistic approach to change." –Stephen B. Kucer, Professor of Language and Literacy Education, Washington State University-Vancouver

"Using the tools and guidance they provide, any school staff can work together to move their program forward." –Dr. Michael Ford, College of Education, University of Wisconsin-Osh Kosh