Latest Content
How to Eat an Elephant One Bit(e) at a Time: Reading Complex Texts

Maggie Beattie Roberts and Kate Roberts present a step-by-step process for close reading in the middle and high school grades involving multiple passes through the same text.

Literacy Contracts: Introduction

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller present Reading Contracts, a system for middle and high school teachers that involves students contracting to complete specific texts and tasks each month.

Using Pinterest for Professional Development

Franki Sibberson finds Pinterest is a useful tool for professional development.

Helping Students Evaluate Online Video for Research

Even if your district is blocking web video now, it's not going anywhere. As time goes on, schools will rely more and more on video available from the Internet for research and learning. Bill Bass has practical advice for helping middle and high school students assess everything from suspect sources to appalling comments on the Wild Wild Web.

First Read Alouds (ROUND-UP)

Choice Literacy contributors share their picks for the first read aloud of the year.

A Summer Reading Camp for Middle School Students

Katherine Sokolowski has tips for a "book club" summer reading camp for middle school students.

Death in Books: Finding Our Way After Loss

Books can help children deal with the toughest challenges in life. In a new booklist, Andie Cunningham shares her top picks for stories about characters grappling with the death of a loved one.

Independent Reading By the Numbers Is NOT Text Complexity

How do you guide students to select books for independent summer reading? Aimee Buckner challenges teachers who are requiring middle students to pick books based solely on Lexile scores.

Understanding the Middle East Through Children’s Literature (BOOKLIST)

Sheiks, harems, and terrorists — the stereotypes of the middle east from popular culture may not be realistic, but they sure are pervasive. Ruth Shagoury and Andie Cunningham find authentic alternative views to present to children in their new booklist.

The Truth About Building a Writing Community in Middle School

Building a sense of community is complicated in middle school classrooms. Katie Baydo-Reed considers her eighth graders, and is surprised at what endures most with these young teens.

Student-Selected Vocabulary in Middle School

Katie Doherty shares many ways to make vocabulary learning fun in middle school, beginning with students working together to select words to study each week.

Curating the Classroom and School Library

As classroom budgets get tighter, teachers rely more and more on school libraries for books. Erin Ocon describes how she has changed the way she matches books and readers in her middle school classroom, depending more on school library resources and helping her middle school students navigate them.

Eyes on the Fries: Just-Right Books and Reading Peer Pressure in Middle School

Gretchen Taylor addresses the issue of "peer-pressured reading" in middle school reading workshops, with a practical example of how she helped her students move beyond the fad book of the moment to more thoughtful previewing and independent reading choices.

Book Matchmaker: Fairy Tales for Older Readers

Renew older students' interest in fantasy and fairy tales with these suggestions of recent titles from Franki Sibberson.

Value-Added: Moving Assessments from “Inflicted” to “Student-Owned”

Gretchen Taylor looks closely at the superficial reading responses of one student, and then uses a mid-year assessment to challenge all of her middle school readers to think, talk, and write more deeply about their reading.

Creating Anchor Charts with Multiple Classes

It’s a dilemma many middle school teachers face. How do you construct anchor charts with multiple groups of students, when only one chart will be hung in the room?  Katherine Sokolowski explains how she ensures all classes have input and a “clean slate” in constructing charts.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall from the Tree: Nurturing Critical Thinking and Choice with Middle School Writers

Katie Baydo-Reed has to try, try, and try again to get high quality writing and thinking from her eighth graders, but the effort builds independence and reflection.

Opening Doors to Parents in Middle School

Gretchen Taylor finds middle school parents enjoy hearing about their child’s day — it’s just a matter of getting creative in dealing with the large number of families.

Helping Middle School Readers Set Goals

In the final installment of a two-part series, Gretchen Taylor explains how to help middle school readers set goals.

Running and Middle School Reading Goals

Gretchen Taylor helps her middle school students analyze their needs as readers and set benchmarks for growth.

Worldwide Cinderellas

Erin Ocon discovers Worldwide Cinderella stories are a wonderful tool for building community and cultural awareness in her 7th grade classroom and with English language learners. Erin describes how she uses a range of Cinderella picture books with students, and provides an extensive booklist for expanding your library.

Quick Take: Using Timers in Middle School Writing Workshops

In this video quick take, Katie Doherty explains why she finds a timer helpful in her middle school writing workshop.

Getting Started with Sentence Observations

Karen Terlecky details the assessments and preparation that goes into the design of her sentence observation program.

From “I Don’t Get It” to “Never Mind — That’s Amazing!”: Scaffolding Schema for Comprehending Poetry

Katie Doherty finds poetry is a powerful tool for helping her middle school students understand the value of schema while reading.

Lifting the Quality of Student Reading Letters with Quotes

Katie Doherty demonstrates for her middle school students how quotes can lift the quality of writing, using student and literary examples in this 11-minute video.

Learning to Write Engaging Nonfiction: A Middle School Partner Writing Study

Ann Marie Corgill takes a big risk and pairs her middle-school students randomly for a nonfiction writing project, and finds the risk pays off.

The Affect of Tech on Splrs

Heather Rader considers the cultural divide between teachers and students who are “screenagers” when it comes to texting.  If u r getting LOLed out in ur classroom u might want 2 read this.

Book Matchmaker: 5th Grade English Language Learners

Robin Heist is an elementary teacher looking for books for her older English language learners who are reading below grade-level expectations.

Why Read? – A Question to End the School Year

“Why read?”  This is the question asked every spring in Erin Ocon’s middle school classroom, and in the process of answering it, she and her students rediscover a lot of what they’ve learned together throughout the year.

Top 10 Technology Tools for Teachers

If you're overwhelmed with the slew of new technology tools coming out all the time (and who isn't?), you might appreciate Scott Sibberson's Top 10 Tech Tools for Teachers. You are probably using some of the tools daily, and may discover a few new ones too.

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