Using Dear Mr. Henshaw to encourage students to write

Dear Mr. Henshaw

Dear Mr. Henshaw, a Newbery medal-winning book by Beverly Cleary, is a great way to get students to think about some of the therapeutic benefits of writing. Of course, you don’t have to mention how helpful writing can be when you need to sort out feelings but you can let students figure this out on […]

Making connections for middle schoolers

Thank You, M'am

This is my first year at a standalone middle school (having previously worked in a high school and K-8), and it’s definitely been a learning experience! In addition to their struggles with reading, my 6th-8th graders bring a host of emotional & developmental issues to the table, all of which I’ve realized I need to […]

Narrative nonfiction in middle school

Phineas Gage

You may have inferred from my first post in February that I am spending a lot of time thinking about nonfiction for middle school readers. We all know now that nonfiction figures prominently in the Common Core State Standards. In fact, we are told that 60% of a 7th grader’s reading diet ought to be […]

Teaching difficult novels

greatliterature_243x300

Ideally, students would stop judging books by their covers and at least try to read what they are given.  Yet more often than not, I am faced with the question, “How do I get students to love the amazing books I love, or at least tolerate the books we are assigned since they’re the only […]

Middle-school reading for Black History Month

Zora!

Four nonfiction books on African American history for middle-school readers.