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Keeping the Classroom Library Current

Franki Sibberson explains how she watches students closely and adjusts her library based on what she sees all year long.

Fifth-Grade Book Talk: Wish Girl

Katherine Sokolowski builds interest in a new book in the classroom library through a book talk on Wish Girl.

How to Get Books Off Shelves

Christy Rush-Levine writes about the push and pull of wanting to put books into students’ hands, and needing at the same time to give them room to explore the classroom library.

When One Door Closes

Gretchen Schroeder finds new routines in her high school workshop means letting go of old expectations.

First-Grade Read and Think Check-In

Katrina Edwards demonstrates a read and think check-in from her first-grade classroom.

Invitations vs. Accountability

It’s not an invitation if students are required to accept it. Franki Sibberson explains how engagement depends upon true choice and lots of options in her fifth-grade classroom.

The Year’s First Read Aloud

From length to heart, Tara Smith provides seven criteria for selecting the first read aloud of the year that can engage students right from the start.

Student Notes: Slow Down and Think

Fifth-grader Orion uses sticky notes to make questions and predictions at the end of each chapter.

Student Notes: Reading for Writing

Reagan, a fifth grader in Franki Sibberson's class, explains how she uses sticky notes to flag examples of writer's craft she could use in her own writing.

Getting to the Heart of Theme

Tara Smith shares many strategies for helping her sixth graders get to the heart of understanding themes in literature.

Student Notes: Reminders for Later

We continue our video series from Franki Sibberson's class of fifth graders explaining how they take notes while reading. Sarah marks important elements early in the mystery she is reading, so she can easily refer to them later.

From Title to Theme: Conferring with Jadev

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Jadev about how the title of a book often gives clues to its theme.

Splashing Around to Find Themes

Christy Rush-Levine moves from emphasizing theme to teaching strategies for understanding text, and finds it’s a much better way to get her eighth graders to grapple with theme in natural, organic ways.

Comics and Graphic Novels for Tweens

Comic books and graphic novels are genres tweens adore, but teachers sometimes struggle to embrace. Ruth Shagoury creates a booklist with engaging books in the genre any teacher would enjoy.

Student Notes: Keeping Track of Many Characters

Tre uses lots of sticky notes to sort through and keep track of characters in a book with a whole classroom full of personalities.

Student Notes: Experimenting with Two Strategies

What do student notes from independent reading look like when students have free choice? In this video series, fifth graders from Franki Sibberson's class explain their notetaking strategies. We start with Ally, who tries out two different strategies to figure out which one will help her the most.

Conferring: Establishing a Setting in a Novel

In this week's video, Aimee Buckner has a quick conference with a fourth grader about ways to solve a dilemma — how to figure out the setting in a historical fiction novel when there are no pictures.

Content and Context

Melanie Meehan considers content and context for students who struggle to master new skills because of a lack of background knowledge.

Launching a Historical Fiction Genre Study

Tara Smith finds her sixth graders love historical fiction, but they often lack the background knowledge to understand texts fully. She launches her historical fiction unit with a careful mix of discussion, anchor charts, and shared texts.

Using a Storyboard for Reflection and Comprehension

Christy Rush-Levine shows a group of three students how they can use a storyboard to help track thinking while reading.

Improving Turn-and-Talks

Melanie Meehan shares questions and reflection prompts to make the “turn and talk” strategy more effective.

Talk Guide

Gigi McAllister presents a guide to her fourth-grade students to improve talk in reading trios.

Compass Points and Empathy

Andrea Smith uses the “compass points” strategy to provoke better whole-class discussions and reflection during read alouds.

Authentic Reading in Kindergarten

Dana Murphy realizes the best way to introduce students to reading in kindergarten is to apply the principles that work at home with her own children.

Summer Reading

Bitsy Parks reflects upon her own not-so-successful experiences as a parent in getting her four children to read during the summer months. She uses these parenting lessons to help students take the initiative for summer reading by writing down commitments and goals in her first-grade classroom.

Reimagining Reading Logs

Reading logs have fallen out of favor in many classrooms because they often become a rote activity for recording pages read. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find authenticity with the logs comes when they move from emphasizing recording to goals and reflection.

Weeding a First-Grade Library

Bitsy Parks has a simple seven-step process for a hard day’s work of weeding out her first-grade classroom library.

Book Talk: “The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary”

Katherine Sokolowski demonstrates her book talk skills when she presents The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary to her students late in the school year.

Building a Next-Read Nonfiction Stack

Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Jack build a next-read stack of nonfiction, highlighting a variety of text features and historical references.

A Community Reads “Wonder”

Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.

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