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Student Independence and Ownership in the Library

The “status of the class” form is a tool used by many teachers in reading and writing workshops to chart student plans daily. As Franki Sibberson tests out a status form in the school library, she discovers it has more value than she realized.

Getting the Most Out of Picture Books

If you are a fan of Mo Willems’ picture books (and who isn’t?), you’ll enjoy Katie DiCesare’s ideas for integrating his popular stories throughout the literacy curriculum. From read-alouds to mentor texts, these books are wonderful tools for engaging students.

Supporting Readers During Workshops: The First Few Weeks

Katie DiCesare ponders the different ways students need to be supported in her primary classroom during the early days of the school year.

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.

Novels in Verse (BOOKLIST)

Franki Sibberson provides a booklist of "novels in verse" – a genre intermediate readers enjoy, especially those who struggle with longer texts.

Models, Coaches, Shepherds, or Rock Stars? Our Reading Roles in the First Few Weeks of School

Cheerleader? Shepherd? Rock Star? Coach? Andrea Smith considers her changing reading “roles” early in the school year as she tries to build a classroom community that shares her passion for literacy.

Wide Open Spaces: Learning from “Not-Just-Right” Books

When is it okay for a child to read a "not-just-right" book, especially one with themes that might be a bit sophisticated or of questionable taste? Andrea Smith confronts this issue as a parent, and thinks through what it might mean for her teaching.

Just Because It’s Skinny, Doesn’t Mean It’s Easy: Matching Books to Transitional Readers in Grades 2-4

Franki Sibberson writes about her evolution in choosing books for transitional readers in grades 2-4. Franki includes a handy list of criteria for evaluating whether new short chapter books are appropriate for young readers.

Knitting, Independence, and Small Group Routines for Intermediate Readers

Franki Sibberson uses a knitting analogy to reflect upon alternatives to guided reading in the intermediate grades that promote more student independence.

Books that Invite Student Participation

Franki Sibberson has suggestions for read-alouds that encourage kids to participate.

Books We Love: Building a Reading Community

Katie DiCesare talks about how her first graders closed out the year with a sequence of activities analyzing their favorite books individually and as a community.

How Can School and Classroom Libraries Support Struggling Readers?

Franki Sibberson tries to imagine what school and classroom libraries look like to struggling readers who are gazing at scores of books beyond their reading levels.

Making Time for Nonfiction Read Alouds

Franki Sibberson considers the issue of selecting nonfiction books for read-aloud time, and in doing so creates one of her popular booklists.

If You Like Captain Underpants: Related Books for Students (BOOKLIST)

Franki Sibberson has suggestions for sustaining the interest of kids who love silly and gross fun in this booklist.

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.

Making Time for Play

Can we make time for play with our youngest learners, and still insure they are getting the literacy skills they need? Absolutely! says Shari Frost, as she shares many strategies the coaches and teachers she works with use to make letter, sound, and word learning fun.

Beyond Matt Christopher (BOOKLIST)

Franki Sibberson finds many boys who are reluctant readers love the sports novels of Matt Christopher. So what is the logical next author or genre for these boys to keep them reading voraciously?

Middle School Readers at Mid-Year (SURVEY TEMPLATE)

Katie Doherty finds surveys of student reading habits and preferences are really useful in the winter, after she knows her students and they’ve settled into a routine.

Teaching Themes Through Keywords

Aimee Buckner presents a simple strategy for helping students look for themes as they read a new text.

Picture Books About Books: Young Learners and Reading Identity

Katie DiCesare gathers picture books to talk with her first graders about everything from reading identity to the proper care of books in the classroom library.

Nonfiction Books for Independent Reading: Moving Beyond Content Connections (BOOKLIST)

Franki Sibberson explains how she boosted the amount of nonfiction texts her grades 4 and 5 students were choosing for independent reading by focusing more on interest than on content connections.

Strong Girls (BOOKLIST)

If Nancy Drew was an important literary role model for you when you were a preteen, you might enjoy a peek at the sassy new gals who are influencing our tweens.

An Assessment Notebook That Works for Me

After lots of trial and error, Franki Sibberson finally has a format for her assessment notebook that works well.

Short Units, Big Messages

Those "in-between" writers in grades 3 and 4 present special challenges to teachers.  Some are fluent and versatile, writing page after page of drafts.  Other students struggle to craft even a sentence. Franki Sibberson explains how short texts and brief genre units can help intermediate writers with a wide range of abilities.

Staying True to Our Beliefs When Working With Struggling Readers and Writers in Grades 3-6

Franki Sibberson writes about the challenges of holding true to our beliefs in working with struggling readers, and shares the questions she asks herself as a way of self-monitoring her teaching with strugglers.

Fitness Boot Camp Helps Me Understand Struggling Readers

Franki Sibberson finishes 29th out of 30 participants in her fitness bootcamp mile run. In the process, she learns many lessons about herself and the needs of struggling learners in her classroom.

Weekend Headlines: Whole Class Share

In this final installment of a three-part video series, Katie Doherty and her sixth-grade students continue the Weekend Headlines activity.  In this installment, students share their writing with the whole class and respond.

Making Predictions and Finding Evidence in Text

In this video from a fifth-grade small group, Clare Landrigan talks with students about making predictions and finding evidence in text.

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.

The Books We Can’t Live Without in Our Teaching: Resource Round-Up

Literacy experts share their well-loved and well-worn children's and professional books.

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