Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

Top 5 meta books to teach print concepts

We Are in a Book!

As a Pre-K teacher, one of the things I am focused on is helping children learn concepts of print. These concepts include that books are read from left to right and top to bottom (in English at least); the role of punctuation; that print has meaning; the relationship between print and speech; that books have […]

#WeGotDiverseAwardBooks: Reflections on Awards and Allies

lambert and family

I missed out on ALA Midwinter this year. At nine months pregnant, there was just no way I could hop on a plane (or hop anywhere, really) to be a part of the conference and its festivities. But shortly after the 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced, a colleague emailed me, “How about all […]

Using technology to mix up read-alouds

storylinewebsite

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 […]

Boys will be boys (what could go wrong?)

banks_boy's best friend

Boys have adventures both big and small — and realistic and poignant and meta and supernatural! — in these books for intermediate and early middle-school readers. In Boy’s Best Friend by Kate Banks and Rupert Sheldrake, two sixth-grade dog owners living on Cape Cod devise an experiment based on scientist Sheldrake’s real book Dogs That […]

Summertime…

idle_sea rex

…and the livin’ is easy. There’s no better time to dive into picture books, especially books about summer adventures. Grab a towel (and some sunscreen), pack a lunch, and soak up three new stories about memorable trips to the beach and one book about everyone’s favorite hot-weather treat. A companion to Tea Rex and Camp […]

Apps for learning and fun

endless spanish_170x170

In these apps for preschool and primary users, interactivity adds an extra-engaging aspect to learning new concepts. The cute monsters from Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, and Endless Numbers are back to teach basic Spanish vocabulary in Endless Spanish. A sight word beginning with each letter appears on the screen and is pronounced by the narrator, […]

Mysterious ways

latham_scarlett undercover

Full of thrills, chills, secrets, and lies, these new high-stakes mysteries for middle- and high-school readers will get hearts racing. Teen detective Scarlett is wary when nine-year-old Gemma appears at her office and tells her that she thinks her brother murdered someone. Scarlett accepts the case, and she’s soon launched into a dangerous mystery that […]

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

eldeafo

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)

ribay_whyneedlibraries

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 […]