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Two articles related to chapter books

jackgantosThis week in addition to our three chapter books, we are reading two articles.

The first is Robin Smith’s piece about her road to becoming a second grade teacher who loves LOVES books, and how she shares them with her classes: “Teaching New Readers to Love Books” from the September/October 2003 Horn Book Magazine.

The second is an interview with Jack Gantos that sheds some light on how he came to write the Joey Pigza books: “An Interview with Jack Gantos” from Embracing the Child website.

(If you would like to read more by Robin Smith or about Jack Gantos, there’s is plenty on the Horn Book website. Just follow the links.)

Tell us what you think of these articles in the comments below.

Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.



  1. Jessica Jones says:

    “despite the pressures of parents and the winds of educational change, I do not teach children to read because it is good for them. To me, books are not meant to be the path to Harvard or even the best high school. I do not think of them as “tools for learning,” a phrase I read in a teacher catalog. I read with children because I enjoy it. I read because they enjoy it.”

    In Robin Smith’s article, the above sentences really struck me. I admit I’m guilty of saying this but it is often stated that the reason students need to learn to read so that the students can perform well school as well as be prepared for college and careers. However, it was interesting to hear Smith’s reason for teaching students to read and how this reason is so different from the common reasons students are taught to read. Overall, I could feel Smith’s passion for reading in the article and I can imagine how this passion would motivate even the most reluctant readers.

  2. Stacy Tell says:

    We read a lot of articles at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A LOT. But nothing has invigorated me quite as much lately as “Teaching New Readers to Love Books” by Robin Smith. She managed to express everything that embodied my desire to go into teaching – a pure love of books and the need to share that love with others. There’s so much that teachers have to answer to nowadays, what with all of the standards and stakes and the “common reasons” we want students to read as Jessica states, that I fear that we’re forgetting the part where we’re supposed to enjoy what we’re delivering. I was recently in charge of running a literature circle for my fourth and fifth grade students, and when it came down to it, the part that I enjoyed the most was sitting back and listening to the students rehash those final chapters, positively taken by the surprise ending and the constant questioning as to whether we could read another book by Andrew Clements next! I hope I can rise to the teaching occasion in motivating my students as well as Ms. Smith.

  3. Robin Smith says:

    Dear Stacy and Jessica,
    Thanks for reading my article. I hope that all teachers will find success at connecting her students with great books and I hope that you two will always read aloud to and with your students, no matter what other things pull at you.
    I am in the last exhausting days before Spring Break and your kind words have buoyed me.


    PS Just FYI–I just finished DragonRider and am reading I’m Sorry, Almira Ann to my second graders right now.

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