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For the Love of Reading: Independent Reading at School

The last couple weeks I’ve clarified the definition of “independent reading” and explored the impact of kids doing required reading on their own at school.

How Effective Is Independent Reading in Teaching Reading?

Last week I explained the concept of “independent reading.” Reviewing various documents from across the past 150 years — research studies, government reports, encyclopedia entries, pronouncements of august organizations, teacher blogs, methods guides — revealed that we educators have been pretty sloppy in our use of that term.

Of course, if everybody says independent reading, but no one means the same thing, there is a communications problem.

Creative couple: an interview with Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

James Ransome and Lesa Cline-Ransome have been writing and illustrating together and individually for many years. And their work continues to grow and evolve. Perhaps James said it best: “What makes illustrating books so exciting is that because each book has a special voice, my approach toward each is different. Whether it be through my choice of palette, design or perspective, there is always a desire to experiment and explore what makes each book unique.”

Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

Guest Reader Season

Bringing guest readers into the classroom is a great activity any time of year. But the calendar is also full of opportunities for hosting special guests who read aloud. Many of these — including World Read Aloud Day, National African American Read-In, and NEA’s Read Across America — are coming up soon.

READING = HOPE x CHANGE (What’s Your Equation?)

I just came back from the inauguration of Jacqueline Woodson as the sixth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature at the Library of Congress. The National Ambassador program — co-sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader — was created in 2008 to "raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to literacy, education and the betterment of the lives of young people."

Bringing Amelia Bedelia’s Antics to Life

Acting stories out is a brilliant way to get to the heart of what children are reading. And not only does story dramatization have positive effects on language development and student achievement, it is an absolute blast. Wren and her Namma, Jan Worthington, take us behind the scenes of their recent page to stage adventure.

How do you reward reading?

Recently I got into a discussion with a group of site coordinators who work for Everybody Wins, a program that brings adults into schools on a weekly basis to read aloud with students. The program encourages its volunteer reading mentors and students to keep track of what they read together. In the past, the program has recognized students with certificates and/or books or other trinkets for reaching certain reading goals.

How Do You Make Kids Love Reading?

How do you make kids love reading?

Before I answer, let’s consider something similar.

Several years ago, I invited Bertram Bruce to speak to our graduate students.

Chip is a thoughtful, soft-spoken, Fulbright scholar at Urbana-Champaign who has spent a lot of time considering the role of technology in learning, and he has done some cool studies on reading and community inquiry.

Creating an Effective Book Buddies Program: No More Magical Thinking

Teacher question:

Take Reading Outside

Story can do a lot to inspire kids to engage with the natural world. What can you do to get kids outside? Kit Ballenger has some ideas that all start with a book!

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"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl