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Interviews with authors and illustrators

Recommended books -- reviews and themed book lists

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The best-of-the-year lists have begun

The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books

Teachers often ask how to keep up with the best new books. Good intentions are one thing, and real life (long days, class prep, paper grading) is another. For those with limited time, I recommend going online near the end of the year when children’s book review journals post their “best of the year” lists. […]

The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing Aboutu Jellyfish

Through NetGalley, I had the opportunity to read The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin, a middle grade book that will debut mid-September 2015. In this book, Suzy Swanson processes the death of her old friend Franny and the end of a friendship. She grieves the way that she and Franny grew apart before Franny […]

Punctuation: the junction between reading and writing

Yo Yes

At a recent training on fluency, I found myself discussing strategies about how to help the “racing reader” — the reader who, when asked to read aloud, whips through the text on a page as fast as possible. One of the key strategies that I discussed with the tutors that I coach was building awareness […]

Is the Internet killing reading?

Call Me Ishmael

Well, IMHO, no… One of the questions I am asked most often in classes and in trainings with teachers is about the Internet’s impact on students’ reading. It usually goes something like this… “Do you think the internet is killing reading?” I usually wonder silently if using the word “killing” means the asker has already […]

Who do your students see reading?


At a recent literacy training that I facilitated, we began the session by asking all of the participants to read for fifteen minutes. The room fell silent as everyone began reading a book or other text of their choice. As the sound of pages turning spread through the room, there was a quiet energy as […]

Finding those “just right” books


Oh. How. Those. Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…have gone! One second you’re basking in the June sun, releasing the tension off your shoulders as the school year comes to a close. Then, suddenly, you blink and summer officially reaches its end. Not only have I had to prepare for another year of teaching third […]

At least they aren’t reading romance

Aristotle and Dante Answer the Secrets of the Universe

I have lots of conversations with teachers and teachers-in-training about what adolescents can, do, and should read. I don’t mind talking about what they can read or what they do read, but I get nervous when people start declaring what they should read, especially on their own time outside the curriculum. Recently, in a class […]

Welcoming everyone to the neighborhood

Welcome neighborhood

When I saw Welcome to My Neighborhood: A Barrio ABC at the library, I was immediately intrigued. I am always interested in books about people of color and since my daughter is half Latina, I wanted to see what this book was about. I’m all for “keeping it real,” but when I read the first […]

Telling and choosing our own stories

myers_darius & twig

For this year’s Boston University/Boston Green Academy Summer Institute (which I’ve blogged about before), we decided to change up our usual routine of reading one book, and this year we chose two – Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Our essential question for our rising ninth and […]

When picture books bring on tears

knock knock

At some point, it probably has happened to any teacher, parent, or caregiver of young children. You are reading a story to a child or group of children and something about the story hits you and makes you misty eyed. Other times you might read a story that causes a child to cry. Books that […]