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Tuesday Trading Post: Involving the Whole School in a Book Exchange

Here's a terrific idea for building the home/school reading connection and involving parent groups in literacy.  Andrea Smith shares the nuts and bolts of the Tuesday Trading Post, a schoolwide book exchange.

Books, Books, Books

Parents of young children may be drawn to text tied to movies or other pop culture filler books.  Trish Prentice shares a letter she sends home to families to encourage even the youngest learners to find books and authors with a little more staying power.

Spring Reading Interviews (TEMPLATE)

Kindergartners may be too young for reading interviews early in the fall, but Mandy Robek finds spring reading interviews are an excellent bridge to families and summer reading suggestions.

Tips from Literacy Leaders for Closing Out the School Year (ROUND-UP)

Here are some suggestions from Choice Literacy Contributors of the best ways to close out the year, with everything from personal organizing tips to family events.

Letting Go After Holding on Tight: Reflecting on the Last Days of School

Andrea Smith writes about how our instincts as parents and teachers merge to make it so hard to say goodbye at the end of the school year.

More Literacy Keepsakes to Carry Home at the End of the School Year

Choice Literacy readers share more of their favorite end-of-year gifts for students to make and take home.

Beginning with the End in Mind: Planning Ahead for Closing Activities

Choice Literacy readers share their favorite end-of-year activities that circle back to events from the start of the school year.

Getting to Know English Language Learners at the Start of the Year

If you’re nervous about working with English language learners, Stella Villalba has some reassuring advice for you.

Make it Personal

The connections we make with students and families are what we remember most when all is said and done. Trish Prentice has thoughts on what changes a respected teacher into a beloved teacher.

A Congenial Parent Night

Invigorate your parent night with these suggestions from Trish Prentice.

Parent Contributions Beyond Instructional Support

Parents want to contribute, but not all contributions are welcome or even helpful when it comes to teaching children how to read and write. Trish Prentice has suggestions for making the most of family skills and willingness to help.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Family Inquiry Project

Julie Johnson explains how a family history inquiry project in her first-grade classroom builds technology, literacy, and research skills as students explored many cultures.  This article is the second in a two-part series.

34 Languages

What is the starting point for building community in a preschool classroom where almost every child speaks a different first language than their teacher? Melissa Kolb writes about how she gently guides her preschool students early in the year.

Literacy Keepsakes to Carry Home at the End of the School Year

Choice Literacy readers share their favorite gifts for students to make and take home at the end of the year.

“This Could Be Our Family”: Books for Children with Lesbian and Gay Parents

Andie Cunningham considers the diversity in how “families” are defined in children’s literature, as well as how some newer books can support children with lesbian or gay parents in our new booklist.

Sharing Data with Families at Parent/Teacher Conferences

How can teachers use assessment data in conferences with parents, without overwhelming them with information?  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan recommend a "data snippets" approach.

How Do We Talk with Parents About What It Means to Be Challenged in Reading?

Discussions with parents of precocious young readers can be tricky. Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan have some tips for these conferences.

Creating a Culture of Literacy

How do we create schools and communities where everyone is passionate about reading and writing? Shari Frost has practical advice for teachers and school leaders.

Bilingual (English/Spanish) Books that Celebrate Language, Family and Culture

Stella Villalba shares her favorite bilingual (English/Spanish) books for helping young English language learners feel at home in new classrooms early in the year.

Lessons from Family Writer’s Workshop

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan remind us that our own children are often our best teachers. Here they share all they learned from their children during a summer of writing together.

Rethinking Reading at Home

What's the value of reading at home? Mandy Robek ponders the home/school connection.

Questions and Answers about Home Reading Logs

Readers enjoyed Mandy Robek's explanation of her move to home reading logs in a calendar format, and some wrote in with additional questions about the program. Mandy provides a follow-up article in a question and answer format, addressing issues raised by readers.

On Not Fretting

Kelly Petrin’s meditation phrase for the day—Do not fret; it only leads to evil—guides her through a home visit with a parent who worries about her daughter’s literacy skills. This is a terrific short read for thinking through how to make encounters with parents less stressful.

Literacy Builds Community: The Jackdaw Project

"School is not summer camp" – this quote reminds Mandy Robek that there are many challenges to building a strong classroom community in the midst of demands for achievement and accountability early in the year. Her "literacy jackdaw" project is a terrific vehicle for classmates to learn about each other, and hone their listening, speaking, and writing skills in the process.

Talking with Parents about Text Difficulty

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan write about how to share the research base and goal of producing lifelong readers with families in understandable terms. The article includes a handout to share at parent meetings.

What Reading is Like: Sports Analogies to Use with Parents

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan provide some sports analogies to share with families when talking about reading growth. The article includes a handout of prompts parents can use to spark discussions about books with their children.

What My Son’s Reading Difficulties Taught Me About Teaching Struggling Readers

No matter how many education methods courses and professional development workshops you take, if you’re a parent, your children will always teach you the most about how students learn.  Tammy Mulligan shares three practical strategies for reaching struggling readers that she learned from experiences with her son.

Helping Classroom Volunteers Become Better Listeners

Helping volunteers understand the importance of listening to young learners is one of Andie Cunningham’s goals. Here she gives tips for preparing volunteers to confer with children.

Many Languages, Many Texts: Book Time in Preschool

In this brief video, Melissa Kolb explains "Book Time" in her preschool class. It's a time when many volunteers read books informally to small groups of children in their home languages.

Family Dichos: Bringing the Language of Home into the Classroom

Ruth Shagoury and Andie Cunningham use dichos (sayings or proverbs) in many languages and cultures to build bridges between school and home.

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