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School

Children's and young adult books in the classroom.

What’s in those leveled book boxes?

Leveled readers #2

Recently, I was reading an article called “The Character of Our Content” in an archived issue of Rethinking Schools. In this piece, a concerned mother critiques representations of gender and race in a basal anthology that her daughter was reading at school. The article got me thinking how incidents such as these are likely very […]

High reader, low motivation

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

In retrospect, I realize now that I have been extremely lucky. My students have always been highly motivated to read. Obviously, I’ve encountered the spectrum when it comes to low to excellent readers, but nonetheless, my students needed only minimal encouragement to read. When students lost interest, a graphic novel always did the trick (I’m […]

The pros and cons of leveled readers

Leveled readers #1

These days, if you enter any elementary school classroom, the chances are good that you’ll encounter leveled readers organized into colorful bins with letters or numbers indicating the challenge level of the books contained inside. With the rise of literacy approaches such as guided reading, many hail leveled readers as a critical component of effective […]

The power of the image: photographs in biographies

goodall

Striking photographs in biographies can draw in, engage, and inform young readers on a deep level. In addition, they can serve as outstanding primary sources. Whether the photographs are current, colorful, high quality prints, or old, sepia, grainy shots, they reveal much about the subject, the setting, and the social/historical context. The two books below […]

Mock award results | Class #6, 2016

mock_2016_featured

The children’s lit class met for the last time last night and we held six (6!) mock book award deliberations. Each student chose which award they wanted to judge and had free reign to nominate any eligible book. I’m pretty sure every last one of them also brought snacks to fuel their discussions. You can […]

Last children’s lit class in 2016

charlottesweb_honorseal

It’s hard to believe that this half-semester module is finishing up in one week. Tonight the students are handing in their annotated bibliographies — the big written assignment in this course. Next, we head into the last class for a little fun. We are reading Charlotte’s Web for dessert but most of our last meeting […]

Charlotte’s Web | Class #6, 2016

Charlotte's Web

During our last class meeting, we will be holding six mock book award sessions. There are four Caldecott groups and one each for Geisel and Sibert. Check out the books they have nominated here and tell us which one would get your first vote. Charlotte’s Web has been my last class reading assignment for several […]

Mock book awards | Class #6, 2016

h810F_mocks_2016

During our last class, students will meet in mock award groups. We did this for the first time last year and it went surprisingly well. This year the class is larger, which means there will be four Caldecott committees instead of two. Like last year, we will follow the terms and criteria as outlined by […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, 2016

Folklore and poetry

For our class on April 2, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile | Class #5, 2016

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile

There are so many stand-alone folktale picture books that it’s hard to choose just one for us to read together. But I’ve used this one for several years because of its humor, voice, and authenticity. Interestingly, it also represents two story types: noodleheads (heroes or heroins who are a bit scatterbrained) and tricksters (a small […]