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Old-fashioned reading in modern times


Literacy enthusiast that I am, I’ve always believed that the reading block in my class schedule should solely focus on, well, reading – reading long and strong, as well as reading across genres. Yet, there’s a third type of literacy that educators across the globe are acknowledging as increasingly important within a student’s repertoire. We […]

Apps to beat the summer slump

professor astro cat

These nonfiction apps introduce new information, and reinforce familiar concepts with a fresh approach, and strengthen developing skills to encourage engaged learning throughout summer — and all year long. In Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System (based on the 2013 nonfiction book Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space), cat cosmonaut Professor Astro Cat takes you on […]

“What are you doing after graduation?”

bliss_meet me here

What high-school senior doesn’t dread that question? Young adulthood is full of change and daunting decisions; even those with solid post-graduation plans may feel as much uncertainty as excitement. The protagonists of these new novels are on the cusp of similarly life-changing moments. In Bryan Bliss’s Meet Me Here, Thomas watches his classmates celebrate graduation […]

Preschool milestones

van lieshout_i use the potty

Learning to share is hard. So is learning to use the potty and how to ditch the pacifier. The following books will help encourage preschoolers to take the next steps (though IRL they won’t get there until they’re ready). In the Leslie Patricelli preschool-book mold, the Big Kid Power series by Maria van Lieshout discusses […]

The past made personal

engle_lion island

Here are four historical novels about kids living through difficult times in the past, all recommended for intermediate readers. Marc Tyler Nobleman’s epistolary novel Brave like My Brother explores ten-year-old Charlie’s home-front uncertainty and the challenges of war for his older brother Joe. Joe’s letters describe life as a soldier stationed in Europe without sounding […]

A trip to the library will make a new boy of me


Last week I went over to the school across the street from my house to help school parent (and librarian and Horn Book Magazine reviewer) Pam Yosca as she worked to reopen its long-closed library. (More truthfully, “help.”) There is so much to do: the library has been closed for six years, and no new […]

Reading groups — homogeneous or heterogeneous?

Leveled readers #4

As teachers, we know that small-group instruction can be extremely powerful. It allows us to work with just a handful of students at time, to differentiate our instruction to specific student needs, and can help students listen to and learn from one another. An often taken-for-granted assumption is that we should group our students according […]

Foreign Correspondence: Translator: Trafficking Between Cultures

El Gran Gigante Bonachon

Translation has often been compared to the building of a bridge. The text originates from within one culture and has to arrive safely in another. A translator acts as travel guide across that bridge, helping the book to find its audience and success in a new land. Yes, some luggage may get lost along the […]

Recommended Page-Turners: Middle School Fiction and Nonfiction

bancks_on the run

Bancks, Tristan  On the Run 229 pp.     Farrar/Ferguson     2015     ISBN 978-0-374-30153-8 On the run from police, twelve-year-old Ben’s parents leave him and younger sister Olive on their own in a cabin in the Australian bush. Ben finds a copy of My Side of the Mountain, appropriate — and useful — reading since he and Olive […]

Recommended Page-Turners: Intermediate Fiction and Nonfiction

anderson_my diary from the edge of the world

Anderson, Jodi Lynn  My Diary from the Edge of the World 421 pp.     Simon/Aladdin     2015     ISBN 978-1-4424-8387-3 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4424-8389-7 Twelve-year-old Gracie’s world is almost like ours — except that the planet is flat, dragons exist, and poltergeists stopped the Industrial Revolution. When the arrival of a Dark Cloud seems to portend her younger brother […]