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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Using wordless books in the classroom

arrival

It is easy to underestimate wordless (or nearly wordless) picture books. At first glance, they can seem simplistic and their educational value can seem limited since so much focus is placed on reading in the classroom, but if used in the right way they can contribute to a number of learning objectives across a wide […]

Picture books measure up

How tall short

When I was a young student, I don’t recall learning about math concepts from picture books. Of course, I could simply have forgotten, but I do think it may be fair to say that there are more high-quality math picture books today than there were when I was a student. Nowadays, whenever I begin a […]

Empathy spells understanding

Yang the Youngest

If there’s one thing my students have come to know about their teacher, Ms. Tell, it’s that I have an extreme passion for, and knowledge of, the Harry Potter series. I won’t get too much into it (I’ll save that for another blog post), but it’s true. It’s not just the magical characters and enchanting […]

Classics and timeless books

allofakindfamily

As a child, I frequented libraries that had rather old books. I remember my elementary school library had timeworn copies of the Madeline books and that one of my neighborhood libraries had old books by Lois Lenski, older versions of the Amelia Bedelia books, and the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor. New books did […]

Books and stuff

bookfair1

It’s that time of year again. Book fair time. “Miss Hewes! Look at the figurines I bought! Aren’t the polar bear and the penguin so cute?” I’ll be honest – yes, little rubberized figurines in the likenesses of polar bears are cute. I understand the appeal of such items to young children. However, I am […]

“Rabid Rabbit Readers” —- try saying that five times fast

country bunny golden

I’ve often heard the expression “teaching is a marathon, not a sprint,” an indication that teachers must allow time to pace themselves throughout the school year. But based on my experiences, that’s a whole lot easier said then done. First-year teachers are often thrown into a developed, engrained curriculum plan for a school’s reading program […]