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Classroom strategies

Three ways to ruin a good book

Here are three ways to ruin a good book:

From page to stage

Books and drama go hand in glove — they're both about story, after all. Just look at the films that have drawn their inspiration from children's books.

On a smaller scale, Reader's Theater brings stories to life as I was reminded when reading a recent article by Elizabeth Poe. The educational — and social — benefits of second grade children sharing Eric Rohmann's A Kitten Tale (Knopf) with preschool children are clearly presented.

Teaching persuasive writing

Kids really know how to lobby for something they want. Teachers and parents can harness this talent and turn young kids into writers who can write to persuade.

The first step is to find something that is important to a child or a group. Is it recess? A dessert after dinner? A sleep over?

Sophisticated words in the classroom

The vocabulary section of the Reading Rockets site contains lots of great resources and information about vocabulary instruction. Thanks to good research, it's now clear that teachers can grow kids' vocabularies through (1) a careful selection of words to teach, and (2) instructional routines that provide practice with new words in multiple settings.

Read all about it! We're writing a newspaper

My kids are home from school, again! We've had strange winter weather here in Virginia, with a huge snow fall in December (27 inches!), flash flooding that closed the schools in early January, and then another 9 inches of snow late last week. The kids have been home. A lot! And they're getting bored.

Yesterday they came up with the idea to write their own newspaper. Always willing to take on a literacy related project with neighborhood kids, we brainstormed various "news stories" to include.

Neat stuff from my Inbox

My Inbox and RSS reader are always loaded with ideas, book suggestions, resources, and more. I leave them there thinking I'd like to write about each one, or go back to flesh out an idea, or share an idea with a friend. I thought I'd share things I've saved over the past few days.

You had a lot to say about...

Happy New Year! January is a great time to look ahead, but I also like to revisit the past to remember some highlights. Several blog topics seemed to resonate with readers (using comments as a barometer), and for me that provides guidance about other topics I should write about in the coming year.

Could've, should've, would've taught these contractions?

My friend's third grader came home with her word study list this week. On the list were the contractions could've, should've, would've and might've. My friend brought the list over to talk about it, and had real concerns about those contractions being taught. "I challenged [her daughter] to find any of those words in print. I know we use them when we talk, but I don't think of them as being real words that should be used in writing."

We're hot! We're bored!

What's a Mom/reading specialist to do? We're 8 days into summer vacation, and we've already run out of things to do. If you're at my house, the answer is…. Reader's Theater!

My girls have always loved to put on a show. They love dress up, props, and performing for an audience. Molly and Anna had a friend over, so they recruited her to join in too.

Whodunnit? Spring break mysteries

Both girls, Molly (8) and Anna (6), are obsessed with mysteries right now, and they spent most of their spring break tearing through several. It started awhile back when they stumbled into the Boxcar Children series.

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"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss