September 2019
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Matt Kessler, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

Reynolds, K. M. (2015). Approaches to inclusive English classrooms: A teacher’s handbook for content-based instruction. Bristol, England: Multilingual Matters.

Kate Mastruserio Reynolds’s (2015) handbook on content-based instruction (CBI) is a comprehensive guide intended for a wide-ranging audience that includes general educators, administrators, curriculum designers, and teachers of English language learners (ELLs) in K–12 public schools. The author attempts to address what have traditionally been regarded as long-standing issues with CBI, including a lack of coordination among classroom teachers and school administrators (Stoller, 2004). Therefore, Mastruserio Reynolds’s work focuses on educating and preparing preservice teachers for early success in working with ELLs in the classroom—specifically in attempts to avoid what she brands as “band-aid solutions” (p. 3) to ELL inclusion—all too often employed only after-the-fact by undertrained educators.

Mastruserio Reynolds’s book is divided into two main sections, with Section 1 devoted to providing a brief overview of the history of teacher training with integrating language instruction into general education classrooms. In addition to outlining common arguments both for and against its integration, the opening section describes key theories and facets of second language acquisition such as comprehensible input (Krashen, 1985), but it does so in an accessible way for its audience that clearly illustrates the role of language in teaching and conveying content.

Following the introductory section, Section 2 then composes the majority of the text, providing in-depth explanations and analyses of eight preparation models and approaches for ELL inclusion. Each CBI model or approach receives ample attention, and the author offers a wealth of useful information including detailed histories, descriptions, theoretical underpinnings, examples, critical evaluations, and suggestions for classroom implementation. Finally, the book concludes with a comparative discussion chapter on the eight models and approaches, which highlights crucial differences related to language settings, program types, and additional factors for consideration.

The author delivers on her aim of providing a complete guide for a varied audience. The book strikes a balance between theory and practical applications, and Mastruserio Reynolds’s judicious use of examples, diagrams, and figures aid in the illustration of key concepts. Especially helpful are the end-of-chapter summaries and “Activities and Discussions” sections, which provide additional opportunities for reflection and continued exploration. In its totality, the book is a particularly valuable resource for preservice teachers, but it is also suitable for experienced instructors who are looking to expand their knowledge of CBI theory and practice.


Krashen, S. D. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. New York, NY: Longman.

Reynolds, K. M. (2015). Approaches to inclusive English classrooms: A teacher’s handbook for content-based instruction. Bristol, England: Multilingual Matters.

Stoller, F. L. (2004). Content-based instruction: Perspectives on curriculum planning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24, 261–283.

Matt Kessler is a PhD student in the Second Language Studies program at Michigan State University. His research interests include second language writing and computer-assisted language learning.
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