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Mentor Texts for “Versus” Stories

What is it that young writers find so appealing about versus stories?  Last year my first-grade class loved versus stories. They went on a versus writing streak in writing workshop...

Mentor Texts for Writing Endings

Have you ever been completely satisfied with a book because of the power of its ending? The last few words or paragraphs the author chooses can leave me fulfilled ....

The Minimalist: Essential Texts for Kindergarten Teaching

I am a minimalist.  I fancy myself a careful consumer looking for utility in each item.  I have learned to survive using a few select items.  These select items fit...

“My Ideal Bookshelf”: Books That Educate Us

I’ve been feeling restless lately about my reading assessment in my classroom -– particularly in the realm of reader reflection, and I wanted to try something new.  In recent years...

Using Instagram to Sell Summer Reading Options

During this past school year Instagram, a picture sharing social media platform, became very popular with my fourth-grade students.  About half of my class had Instagram on their phones or...

Recommendations for Summer Reading Fun: Early Reader Chapter Books for Boys

Boys who are just getting into early reader chapter books have lots to choose from. We’ve listed some of our favorite books with boys at the center by well-known and...

Recommendations for Summer Reading Fun: Comics and Graphic Novels for Early Readers

Kids LOVE graphic novels!  What’s not to love?  Pictures, details, and interesting stories to pore over, and now there are so many that have the added attraction of good stories...

Recommendations for Summer Reading Fun: Classic Books for Early Readers

For book lovers, summer is a an idyllic time for reading, a chance to dip into those books we’ve been itching to crack open, or revisit special books from our...

Death in Books: Finding Our Way After Loss

My father died last fall. While his death was sudden, I continue to feel glad he is no longer suffering. Alzheimer’s was his unfortunate companion for years. He rarely knew...

Madness, the Spring Slump, and High School Readers

I have worked hard over the past ten years to create a culture of reading in my 11th and 12th grade English classes. From book passes to book talks to...

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

As educators of kids, as well as literacy coaches who work with adults, we have been searching for quality children’s literature about the Middle East.  Countries from the Middle East...

March Book Madness

During the month of March, like many people in the United States, I am consumed by college basketball.  In my opinion the NCAA Basketball Championship is the greatest thing in...

Comic Books and Mini Caped Crusaders for the Youngest Readers (Home is Where the Books Are Series)

I’m not a big comic book reader.  Both of my brothers are, so I’ve tried to get into the sweeping and gorgeous graphic novels they periodically recommend, but they just...

Bully Literacy

Ahna came running up from her sand castle to where I was soaking up the sun. “Mom, there’s a kid with a weird arm who wants to play with me....

Book Matchmaker: Nonfiction to Read Cover to Cover

    Clare is looking for some nonfiction books that can be shared in their entirety during read alouds. Here are some of my favorite nonfiction cover-to-cover read alouds.  ...

Book Matchmaker: Fairy Tales for Older Readers

      Fairy tales for older readers are becoming more popular. Many readers enjoyed Harry Potter in the elementary grades, and sophisticated fairy tales are a perfect choice for...

Common Core Booklist: Writing Personal Narratives

One emphasis of the The Common Core State Standards in Writing is narrative writing for fourth graders.  When looking closely at the standards, students are expected to develop an experience...

Book Matchmaker: Read Aloud Versions of Old Favorites

  Not only do children love to hear new versions of favorite stories, but the thinking that happens when students read these stories is powerful. Seeing connections between stories, characters...

Chronology in Nonfiction (Common Core Booklist)

As I try to choose books that will help my students meet the expectations of the  Common Core State Standards, I find myself needing to look across grade level expectations...

Supporting Young Writers with Opinion Texts

I believe that effective teaching is about hearing all the voices — making sure that every student is valued, heard and respected and knows that his or her voice can...

The Quest for the Perfect First Read Aloud of the Year

I love summer reading. I love the freedom to read what I want, and catching up on books I’ve been meaning to read. And I love having time to browse...