I was recently chatting with an old colleague about our days teaching in New York City public schools today. “Ugh,” she moaned. “I hated teaching book clubs.” About a week later, I was in a meeting with a different colleague who said, “Book clubs just didn’t work for my kids last year.” Whenever I hear the same things twice, my pattern-seeking brain starts to go into overdrive. There was a common feeling here that I needed to explore and unpack. I sat with those comments for a couple of weeks and let them marinate. If I’m being honest with myself, book clubs were sometimes a huge struggle for me as a classroom teacher as well. But now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the difference between what I was trying to do ten years ago and what I’m trying to do now, I realize that it wasn’t the structure or “book clubs” that were the root of the problem. It’s that I had a narrow vision of what I thought book clubs were “supposed to” look like and be like.
Topics: Literacy, Reading, Elementary
Since the release of their groundbreaking book, 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing with Children’s Books, Melissa Stewart, Sibert Medal honoree, and Marlene Correia have been making waves across social media and changing the ways we think about nonfiction. This compelling exploration of nonfiction’s five major categories is shifting perspectives about how we share and celebrate nonfiction with students, how nonfiction can enhance our classroom and library collections, and, ultimately, how we can capitalize on the advantages of nonfiction to help build stronger readers and writers.
These days, more and more young readers are turning their attention to nonfiction texts. And, why wouldn’t they? With a wealth of high quality, engaging nonfiction children’s books being published daily, there’s no shortage of visually dynamic, groundbreaking texts that delight as well as inform. Despite this trend, many of our libraries and classroom activities come up short in encouraging, teaching, and celebrating nonfiction.
In this excerpt from their recent book, 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, authors Melissa Stewart and Marlene Correia discuss what draws them to center their work on nonfiction with children, their passion for it, and the journey that led them into a study of classifying nonfiction in a way that helps us understand, teach, and share it more effectively.
In this week's One Thing You Might Try . . . post, K–8 literacy specialist, Gwen Blumberg, shares ideas for building anchor charts as visual scaffolds that can be easily implemented regardless of instructional setting.
Topics: Literacy, Reading, Writing, One Thing You Might Try
"Teaching with text sets is not a luxury. It’s a possibility. It’s an approach to student-centered teaching that allows you to cover what you need to cover while engaging students in perspective taking and sense making. Because of that, it is both practical and aspirational."
In this Introduction to the forthcoming book, Text Sets in Action, the authors, Mary Ann Cappiello and Erika Thulin Dawes, tell us their "origin stories" that led them to write a book about how to successfully use text sets to carve a pathway through content area literacy. They show us how using text sets in instruction is both aspirational and practical in helping to create structures and contexts in which required learning can take place while going beyond what is merely required. They show us how this work allows for an integrated curriculum that will lead to working smarter, taking advantage of students’ interests, and customizing a curriculum that takes advantage of contemporary issues, values, and contexts. Take a look!
Topics: Literacy, Reading, Writing, Middle School, Elementary
"For us, schooling is not just about developing individual children’s intellectual and social abilities. It’s also about expanding their moral development and building stronger communities."
Ten years ago, Peter Johnston and six colleagues embarked on a journey to discover how to design a classroom culture that thrives intellectually while being both socially and emotionally healthy. Engaging Literate Minds: Developing Children’s Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Lives is the culmination of their work and the stories of how their teaching has evolved by using Peter’s best-selling books Opening Minds and Choice Words.
The group collected their experiences and cast them into one voice to create this inspiring professional learning resource. Here is an excerpt from the book that gives readers a sense of the inspiration behind its creation and how it might encourage you and your colleagues to gather in a collective effort to make children’s (and your own) lives and futures brighter. Take a look!
Topics: Literacy, Social Emotional Learning
“Burkins and Yates skillfully explore ‘balanced literacy’ and ‘the science of reading’ to find the sweet spots where they overlap, connect, and actually complement one another.” —Susie Rolander, Bank Street College
Identifying a worthy text is often one of the biggest challenges to overcome when putting together a close-reading plan. Choosing a text that offers opportunities for multiple readings, as well as new, meaningful understandings can be difficult. So how do we know if a book or article will work for close reading?
The following is a guest blog post from Maria Walther and Karen Biggs-Tucker, authors of the new book, The Literacy Workshop: Where Reading and Writing Converge.
When Maria and her first graders were immersed in the big idea of questioning, she read aloud the picture book, I Wonder (Holt, 2019). After enjoying this engaging book, she asked her learners, “Where do questions lead?” As you can see from her students’ responses on the chart, some smart thinking grew from this question.
What if we viewed every read aloud as an invitation to learn more about literacy and ourselves?
Kwame Alexander wrote, “If JoEllen McCarthy were a chef, then Layers of Learning would be her cookbook. These carefully selected recipes for read-alouds are inventive and engaging.” This friendly, hands-on book today is full of over 200 picture-book suggestions and practical strategies for incorporating social-emotional learning into your instruction using those books you read aloud every day. “Come on in her kitchen, the results are delicious.”
Topics: Literacy, Reading, SEL, Social Emotional Learning