Randy Ribay

About Randy Ribay

Randy Ribay teaches high school English at an all-boys charter school in Philadelphia and is a regular reviewer for The Horn Book Guide. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Colorado and an Ed.M. in Language & Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Confront and question

Things Fall Apart

A man decapitates someone and then hangs himself. A young man learns to return hate with hate. A powerful leader is assassinated via stabbing. An entire people group is nearly annihilated. A girl’s parents and two sisters die because of a corrupt government. A boy is raped in an alleyway, and his friend does nothing […]

Summer reading remixed

summmerreadingcircle_300x300

Far too many of our students enter as ninth graders reading woefully below level. Part of the problem, we believe, is due to the Matthew effect. The gist of this theory is that kids who struggle with reading for whatever reason avoid it all costs, causing them to fall even further behind. And of course, […]

“Where do you buy these?”

Barnes and Noble at Cherry Hill, NJ.

Eight years ago, the question shocked me: “Mr. Ribay, where do you buy these?” The student was holding up a book. He had no idea where to buy a book. That was my first year teaching in Camden, NJ and the first time I had ever encountered someone who had to ask this question. But […]

What Makes a Good YA Urban Novel?

make lemonade

Poverty. Violence. Racism. Gangs. Drugs. Crime. When people think of the inner city, these are the issues that tend to come to mind — the reasons many avoid urban areas altogether and lock their car doors should they happen to take a wrong turn and end up in a “bad” neighborhood. Unfortunately, these are not […]