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Reading and Writing for the 100th Day of School

“I don’t believe this!” I mumbled to myself as I left the classroom. I was leaving after a meeting with Allie, who was completing a teaching internship, and her cooperating...

Raising Student Voices: Mentor Texts

I’ve never really gotten over watching A Muslim and Jewish Girl’s Bold Poetry Slam on YouTube. Amina Iro and Hannah Halpern share their poem about the way the world sees...

Detour Texts

Students in the intermediate grades have a lot to learn as readers. They need to pay attention to the small details in a text, keep track of multiple characters, understand...

Expanding Black History Month Reading

It’s easy to tell when it’s Black History Month. Every classroom has a display of favorite read aloud books featuring African Americans. Children can look forward to hearing them during...

Picture Book Biographies

Whenever I heard the word biography from my teacher while I was growing up, my mind translated it as a long, boring, unappealing, and completely dull book. I never would’ve...

Comics and Graphic Novels for Tweens

My 10-year-old grandtwins, Molly and Jacob, are officially tweens, and I see it in their reading tastes. They devour chapter books and picture books, still love read-alouds, appreciate good joke...

Refugees: A Children’s Booklist

How could I ever forget her? Her eyes were full of hope. Her smile had shadows behind it, but I didn’t know her journey. She seemed happy at times. Other...

Books on a Budget

It was post-awards season. All my bookish friends were on a literary social media site, sharing their thoughts on the most recent American Library Association Youth Media Awards recipients. We...

Mentor Texts for Letter Writing

A few months ago, Jennifer Serravallo posted a photo of children in her neighborhood writing letters and postcards. When we looked at this photo, we could almost hear the productive...

More Nonfiction Read Alouds

Every year I plan to read aloud more nonfiction to students. And every year I do—but just a little more. I have worked hard over the last five years to...

Great Books for African American Boys

When Serena saw the class list for her middle school language arts class, she knew that it was going to be a challenge. There were 18 boys in a class...

The Benefits of #bookaday

A few things came together to create one of my most favorite classroom routines. Jillian Heise took Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday idea and shared a picture book a day with her...

Increasing Read-Alouds in the Primary Grades

Years ago, I was sitting in a workshop led by Debbie Miller as she talked about the importance of reading aloud to students. Of course I already knew the importance...

No More Strong Girls?

“Why does every heroine have to be a Katniss?" asked Laini Taylor, author of Strange the Dreamer. “Aren’t there other ways for girls to be worthy role models without shooting...

Playful Texts for Beginning Readers

Easy as ABC? Child’s play? Not for some kids. For kids who find learning to read difficult, it is critical that we give them the most engaging books that we...

Books That Mirror the Children in Our Classrooms

A book can show you the world but it can also show you a reflection of yourself.                                   Grace Lin We sat in silence. “Comments? Thoughts?” I asked this group...

Graphic Novels for Beginning Readers

“Whoa! Do we get to read this?” asked Malik, holding up a copy of the graphic novel Binky the Space Cat. “No, sweetie,” replied Rochelle. “That book is for the...

Culturally Responsive Texts

We were gathered together on our rug, ready to dive into thinking and feeling along with the characters in a book. Having looked for a text that would be relatable...

Adjusting the Classroom Library for Student Needs

It won’t work. Can I make it work? No, I can’t make it work. This was my circle of thought during the first month of school. I had recently finished...

Teaching Inference Through Picture Books

One reading strategy my fifth graders still struggle with is inference. After years of working with students this age, I think they are making this more complicated than it needs...

Little Levels, Big Thinking

I’m teaching first grade after a year in third grade. It was such a good learning year for me. I realized that lots of books that work in first grade...