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Motivation

Reading Aloud to Kids and Why Lessons Need Purposes

Teacher question:

Teachers in grades 3, 4 and 5 spend weeks and weeks (like 5-6) reading aloud chapter books to their students. In some classrooms, students have a copy of the book.  Is there research that speaks to the effectiveness of a read-aloud over a period of time?

Does student interest wane after two weeks or so? 

Are there ways to think strategically about read aloud time ... to incorporate instruction? 

What do we want students to know and be able to do as a result of a read aloud in this context? 

Graphic Novel Conversion

Welcome Colleen Dykema to Book Life! Colleen is an award-winning ESL teacher and reading specialist with Arlington Public Schools. Her teaching career began in 1972, and since 2000 she’s worked with English language learners at Swanson Middle School. A great believer that “reading is our personal reward — our private space to grow and explore,” Colleen had an “aha” moment this school year about reading graphic novels.

The Role of Motivation in Teaching with Complex Text

I’m vacationing in Aix-en-Provence. I’ve written before about teaching myself to read French, and now I’m enrolled in a spoken French class. Très hard!!!

Maybe not much of a vacation, and, yet, I’m gaining valuable insights into what we must do to teach successfully with complex text.

Our tour includes about a dozen people; some are studying French, and some are not. Because our group is petite, they could only provide two French options. One for absolute beginners, and the other a mid-level French course attended by immigrants to France.

How Complex a Text Can I Scaffold?

Teacher question:

The P Word

Poetry has never been my favorite. It was something archaic you had to read at school. If it was presented as “Poetry,” I never particularly enjoyed it. I’ve always tried to read more poetry, but it was an effort. Though I love stories, I somehow couldn’t connect to the story in the poems I read.

But it has recently become clear to me that I’ve spent most of my life thinking in poetry.

— Those conversations I imagined the trees were having as I passed through the woods on the way home from school

Poetry

An Interview with Author Erica Perl

Erica Perl

A native of Vermont, Erica S. Perl now lives in Washington, D.C., where she writes a range of books for young readers. She has done very funny picture books, novels for middle grade as well as books for young adults, and most recently a novel in play form,

Reading in the Spotlight

Welcome Madelyn Rosenberg to Book Life! Madelyn is a mom, journalist, and the author of nine books for children. Her newest book, This Is Just a Test, with Wendy Wan-Long Shang, comes out on June 27.

Jason Reynolds: The Beauty of Words Is Magic

Gene sits down with award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds. They talk about the unusual story structure in All American Boys, the inspiration for the book, and how writing it emerged from a deep friendship (full of “uncomfortable, healthy conversations”) with his co-author, Brendan Kiely. With his book Ghost, Reynolds wanted to explore the whole concept of “running” — and what it means to run toward, or run away, from something.

Reading Success During Spring Break!

Guest post by Stacie Brady, AIM-VA

Hooray! Spring is on the way. Whether families are headed to the beach, camping, amusement parks or even a staycation, it’s a great time to practice using those reading accommodation tools with real-life reading opportunities. Using reading tools such as text-to-speech during fun, low stress, literacy activities help to build independence and encourage practice with the tool-based skills needed for more academic reading when returning to school.

Bringing Books to Life: My Little House in the Big Woods

We’ve had a mild winter here in Virginia and the lack of snow got me thinking about a past cold and snowy adventure to the boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder in upstate New York.

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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