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Common Core State Standards

Interviews with authors and illustrators

Recommended books -- reviews and themed book lists

Book app reviews

Movie reviews

School -- reading in school, author visits, and more

Blogger bios

Suggestion box: what else to you want to see in Lolly's Classroom?

Using technology to mix up read-alouds


At a recent literacy conference, I was introduced to an online resource called Storyline Online. Created by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Storyline Online provides animated videos of picture books that are read by actresses, actors, and other well-known individuals. In addition to the videos, there are also activity guides to accompany each book, which […]

Brain-bending books

smith_grasshopper jungle

Lately, I’ve read several books that blew me away with their beautiful and sometimes anarchic originality. I’ve written before about the creepy dreaminess of the almost-song We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and I was equally bowled over by the lyrical oddity of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, which […]

The value of the graphic novel


This year, I’ve really pushed my students to embrace graphic novels. It’s helped my low readers to access the same information as their peers, and although some students read it because it’s “easier,” they’re reading. What I find myself conflicted with now is that my school is part of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program, where […]

Why schools still need libraries (and librarians)


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 […]

A sense of place

Maine picture books

“Doesn’t this book make you think of Rockport, of being down at the beach and feeling the waves?” one of my students asks me, holding up our classroom’s copy of Andre by Fran Hodgkins. “It does remind me of that,” I tell my student. “Why don’t you read what is says on the seal’s collar […]

Teaching and reading in a YA movie world

The Giver movie poster

The first time I read The Giver, I was astounded. I got to the last page, sat for a moment in wonder, and then flipped back to page 1 to begin again, in the hopes I could hold that moment for just a little longer. The images that the book conjured for me were permanent, even today, many years and reads later.

Picture books under the sea

Life in the Ocean

With water covering around 70% of the world’s surface and playing home to some of the most fascinating creatures on earth, it is not surprising that it is a perennially popular topic for young children. And, this ongoing popularity means that there are plenty of books available on this topic to encourage students to pursue […]

We need (more) diverse authors


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 […]

Learning from mistakes

everyone ride bicycle

My second graders, like most kids, hate making mistakes. Often, when students begin the year with me, they see mistakes as something bad and rarely seem more embarrassed than when they make mistakes in class. Throughout the course of the year, I ask my students to work on honing a growth mindset and try to […]

Behind the Scenes of the Little House books

pioneer girl

How much time do you devote to researching the books you give your students to read? If you have the time or are really interested in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pioneer Girl may be for you. This scholarly book with notes and appendices, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, is for true fans of […]