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Questions for Rereaders

Lifelong readers often have books they love to reread, sometimes more than once. But young readers can also get into ruts. Jennifer Schwanke explores when rereading is fine for students, and when it should be challenged. She includes a series of questions for teachers to use when conferring with children who are rereading favorite books.

Stop and Inquire

Mark Levine capitalizes on what captures his middle school students’ attention with his Stop and Inquire routine.

Bin of the Week

Shari Frost and a teacher she is assisting notice some bins collecting dust in the classroom library. When the teacher resists removing the books, they work together to find creative ways to help students develop enthusiasm for neglected series and authors.

Why Bother? Practical Answers to Questions About Close Reading

Why bother with close reading? Jennifer Schwanke finds many teachers asking themselves if close reading is worth the time, when schedules are already overstuffed. She shares some prompts to help assess when close reading makes sense.

Flash Forward with New Students

The dark days of winter may be the best time to plan for spring step-up events to introduce students to next year's teachers. Christy Rush-Levine has a new goal of using the day to promote summer reading.

Goals to Habits in First Grade

Bitsy Parks finds goals aren’t enough for her first-grade students—real growth requires that the goals eventually become habits. She develops a process mid-year to help children refine their goals step-by-step.

Teaching Fifth Graders to Make Peer Recommendations

Katherine Sokolowski confers with her son Liam and his friend Caden, helping them learn how to make peer book recommendations.

Reaction and Intention: Rethinking the Library in Early Winter

Mary Lee Hahn finds some of her fifth-grade readers are stuck in ruts by early winter. Her solution involves some radical changes to her classroom library over winter break.

“If You Like” Reading Recommendations Conference

Building "next-read" stacks with students before holidays is a great way to ensure they have books in hand that they will be excited to read over break. Katherine Sokolowski helps Taryn finds books that are similar to those written by Rick Riordan (Taryn's favorite author).

QR Code Listening Stations

Listening stations are invaluable in elementary reading workshops, and can also be a hassle to set up and maintain. QR codes to the rescue! Stephanie Affinito shares how she helps teachers use simple online tools for setting up QR code listening stations.

Making Co-Teaching Work

Kate Mills and Tara Barnett often write together about their experiences as co-teachers. They share their best advice for teachers and school administrators on how to make co-teaching partnerships between classroom teachers and special educators work.

Writing a Strong Conclusion to a Literary Analysis Essay

Christy Rush-Levine helps eighth grader Katherine sort through tools and strategies for writing a strong conclusion to her literary analysis essay.

Children’s Books: Mirrors and Windows

Is your mentor text a mirror for students? Shari Frost explains the term and provides criteria for selecting mirror books.

Girls’ Book Share in Fifth Grade

Katherine Sokolowski demonstrates how she helps a group of girls in her fifth-grade classroom learn to help each other select books based on previous experiences and tastes.

Assessment Refresh

Christy Rush-Levine considers how her rubrics do not acknowledge different levels of support some students need to accomplish tasks. She rethinks her rubric design to include support, and in the process fosters more independence and reflection in students.

They Don’t Read at Home

Cathy Mere suggests strategies for working with struggling students who read very little at home.

Using Read Alouds to Build Fluency

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find an ingenious way in the upper elementary grades to help their struggling readers develop fluency through read alouds.

More Nonfiction Read Alouds

Franki Sibberson shares strategies for incorporating more nonfiction into read-aloud times throughout the day.

Color-Symbol-Image: A Thinking Routine for Read Alouds

Andrea Smith uses the Color-Symbol-Image thinking routine during read alouds to promote deeper reflection among students.

Great Books for African American Boys

Shari Frost deals with the failure of a classic read-aloud text to reach young African American boys by finding more engaging books for them.

Eighth-Grade Conference: Empathetic Reading

Christy Rush-Levine confers with eighth grader Julian about his strengths as an empathetic reader.

Sketching Your Way to a Big Idea

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills work with eighth graders who struggle to articulate big themes in literature. A breakthrough comes when they have the option of sketching their thoughts.

Exploring Text Features

Melanie Meehan works with a small group to talk through how nonfiction text features might enhance their informational writing.

Gradual Release of Responsibility in Small Groups

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills develop a process of pre-assessment, careful planning, and systematic recordkeeping to up the value of their small groups.

Better Student-Led Literature Discussions

Gigi McAllister tries student-led discussion groups in her fourth-grade classroom, with disastrous results. She regroups the following year with multiple lessons, anchor charts, and preparation to ensure success.

First-Grade Minilesson: Tricky Words

Bitsy Parks presents a minilesson on figuring out tricky words by recounting a student's strategy from a recent reading conference, using it to begin an anchor chart.

Balancing Reading and Talk

Mark Levine finds that the best way to deal with controversial topics like slavery in his middle school classroom is with open and focused whole-class discussions.

Building a Reflective Community

Andrea Smith builds reflection into whole-class discussions in her fourth-grade classroom by beginning an anchor chart with four different illustrations from the covers of a read-aloud.

Sentence Phrase Word: Student Independence for Word Learning

Andrea Smith uses the sentence-phrase-word thinking routine with her fourth graders to show how potent one word can be in understanding complex themes.

Lunchtime Author Discussion Groups

Gigl McAllister explains why she hosts optional lunchtime author studies, with practical tips on getting started.

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