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. He is the author of An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes (Merit Press, Oct 2015).

Five questions for Sonia Manzano

Photo: Edward Pagan

Sonia Manzano’s forty-four-year run as Sesame Street‘s Maria recently came to a close, but that doesn’t mean she’s taking it easy. Her newest book, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx (Scholastic, 14 years and up), is a memoir in which Manzano recounts her rough childhood and adolescence, ending just as she auditions […]

Why schools still need libraries (and librarians)

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I felt like a scavenger. There I was, in a prestigious private school’s library, picking through books they were getting rid of in order to make space for a new tech area. The staff was extremely kind, but I still resented what their students had and mine didn’t. As I’ve explained in previous posts, the […]

We need (more) diverse authors

#WNMDB

In the Age of Testing, it seems creativity is often left by the wayside. Professional development for teachers these days focuses on practices that supposedly raise test scores. Practice questions. Test-prep software. Data analysis. Incentives. To make room for these practices, it seems that many high schools no longer teach creative writing. We teach reading […]

Lesser-known heroes

Invincible

In my literature classroom, students must always be reading a book outside of the novel we’re reading as a class. Every now and then, a student will pull V for Vendetta or Watchmen or Maus or some other graphic novel* off of my shelf and ask if he can use it as his independent reading […]

We need diverse books because of Ferguson

source: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/

I have no idea what actually happened between Mike Brown and Darren Wilson in those unfortunate moments — and neither do you. Some people lie. Some cops lie. Evidence can be portrayed or interpreted in multiple ways. Let’s stop pretending that we (or our news sources) are the sole possessors of indisputable facts. But don’t let that cause you […]

Are you ready for some football…books?

Friday Night Lights

I love the fall. I do not love people asking me, “Hey, how about that [insert-local-football-team] game?” I have nothing against the sport; it’s just not my thing. Working at an all-boys school, though, I am surrounded by a mass of gridiron fans. As stereotypical as it may be, I think any of my coworkers […]

Blasting the canon

The Red Badge of Courage

As a new English department chair, I’ve already been faced with decisions about book orders. Our high school opened in 2007, but our middle school just opened with a sixth grade class last year. This means it was time for us to create a seventh grade curriculum. I believe in leadership through structured freedom, so […]

Why are we doing any of this?

bubbletest

Every teacher has heard it before: if you’re teaching students to succeed on the Test, then you’re teaching them the skills they’ll need to succeed in college and beyond. And if you’re like me, you’ve either inwardly or outwardly scoffed at this claim. As I use the summer to reflect on this past school year […]

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

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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, […]