Caught in Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web

I teach ESL to adults and have often used children’s books as educational tools with these students who are trying to master English. I’ve read picture books to lower level classes, but the year I taught Advanced Conversation, I knew I needed something different. Having taught lower level classes, I can say that in comparison […]

Mystery and metaphor

lockhart_we were liars

It isn’t so often that I’m dying to read a book the second it comes out. But I got up in the wee hours of the morning the other day to read We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart as soon as humanly possible. I love her books, and this one, though very different from her […]

Curious George Gets High

Curious George Takes a Job

I try to read quality new picture books to my Pre-K students, often using Horn Book recommendations as a guide (shameless plug). That being said, classic stories and characters are still highly popular among the children and thus get read frequently as well. Often we find things in classic literature that we don’t come across […]

#Weneeddiversebooks

weneeddiversebooks_300x290

I was having a passing conversation recently with a high school senior in a humanities classroom, and he said he hated “school books.” I asked why, and he said the only time black people are in books at school, they are slaves. It made me want to cry. Or maybe scream. Then I thought of […]

Confront and question

Things Fall Apart

A man decapitates someone and then hangs himself. A young man learns to return hate with hate. A powerful leader is assassinated via stabbing. An entire people group is nearly annihilated. A girl’s parents and two sisters die because of a corrupt government. A boy is raped in an alleyway, and his friend does nothing […]

Text sets for summer reading

Hatch

A few weeks ago, literacy coaches and librarians in my district gathered to plan for summer reading. We are well aware of the research that cites summer reading as critical for maintaining reading muscle and avoiding the slide that can harm our most vulnerable readers. Book-loving adults in our district care deeply about setting kids […]

Mr. Tiger love at last!

brown_mr tiger goes wild

Readers of Calling Caldecott — and all my students — will understand my joy at hearing the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards announced Saturday. FINALLY some award love for Mr. Tiger Goes Wild! You can read the press release and reviews of the winning books here. We’ll put up photos from the announcement soon and you […]

How I learned to stop worrying and write curriculum about Bomb

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

One of the projects I am involved in is a program where a group of retired folks work in schools to facilitate after-school reading groups with middle graders. One piece of my work is to write curriculum about books that (we hope) are high-interest and wide-ranging in subject, so groups will have many options as […]

High interest, low readability

High interest, low readability

One of the perennial struggles of teaching deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students is finding texts of interest for struggling older readers — high interest, low readability, as they are called. Not to get too research-y here, but studies show that the average DHH student graduates from high school reading at a fourth grade […]

Llama Llama Single Mama

Llama Llama Red Pajama

Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series has been one of the favorites of the four and five year olds in my classroom for years now. The fun rhymes combined with relatable stories and illustrations of the characters faces that are great at conveying emotions seem to really draw the children into the books. However, there is […]