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Meet Kate Messner!

Kate Messner

Kate Messner writes both nonfiction and fiction for a range of young readers. She’s explored the natural world as well as various themes in novels and picture books. I caught up with Kate while on a tour for her latest book, The Seventh Wish (Bloomsbury; 1619633760).

In it, readers meet 12-year old Charlie who catches a magical fish that grants her wishes. Serious themes combine with magic, a bit of humor, and contemporary issues including Charlie’s older sister’s addiction.

Further Explanation of Teaching Students with Challenging Text

Last week I pointed out that from grades 2-12 it wasn’t necessary to match students to text for instruction to proceed effectively. Research has not been kind to the idea of mechanical “instructional level” criteria like 90-95% accuracy (e.g., Jorgenson, Klein, & Kumar, 1977;  Kuhn, Schwanenflugel, Morris, Morrow, et al., 2006; Morgan, Wilcox, & Eldredge, 2000; O’Connor, Swanson, & Geraghty, 2010;  Powell, & Dunkeld, 1971;  Stahl, & Heubach, 2005;  Stanley, 1986).
 
Language learning doesn’t work that way.

25 Accessible Books! Bookshare Gives Struggling Learners an Early Start on "Reading Independence"

Bookshare's summer reading collection for young readers is chosen to entice, engage and keep readers coming back when traditional books in print cause frustration.

How Can Reading Coaches Raise Reading Achievement?

Teacher question: I have just been hired as a reading coach in a school where I have been a third-grade teacher. My principal wants me to raise reading achievement and he says that he’ll follow my lead. I think I’m a good teacher, but what does it take to raise reading achievement in a whole school (K-5) with 24 teachers?
 
Shanahan's response:
 
It’s easy. Just do the following 9 things:

1. Improve leadership

Children's Book Week: Free El Deafo Bookmark! New Accessible Formats for Struggling Readers

Cece Bell El Deafo

Bravo to native Virginian Cece Bell, a Newbery Honor Book winner and 2015 Children's Choice Debut Author finalist who created and illustrated El Deafo. She has crafted the 2016 official and ready-to-download bookmark for the 97th annual Children's Book Week 2016 that runs from May 2-8.

Where Does Content Fit In Literacy Learning? Learning to Dance and Talk at the Same Time

Years ago I took ballroom dance. I used to write about those experiences in this space. It was a great opportunity for me as teacher, since with dance I struggled greatly (something there is about having your legs bound for the first year of life that makes graceful movement a challenge).

Opting Your Kid Out? Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the value of the information parents receive when their kids take common — or standardized — assessments.

Bringing Ramona to Life

It was my mom who introduced me to Beezus and Ramona. But the introduction was a bit unusual. We’re not talking about a cozy bedtime story or even a read aloud on one of our family’s long car trips. I had Ramona live in my living room.

Janet Worthington

Leadership and the Power of School Relationships

In the last few weeks I've visited five schools in four states. Each of them educates large numbers of students from low-income homes and students of color, and each is either high-performing or on an impressive improvement trajectory.

The schools are different in lots of ways, but one thing characterizes them all: Teachers, principals, and other administrators work hard at building trusting relationships that help create a sense of agency and purpose.

Here are three examples of what I mean:

Wimpy Kid Author Jeff Kinney Has Advice for Kids About "Ear Reading"

Super author Jeff Kinney, best known for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Wimpy Kid movies, does not have dyslexia, nor do his children, but he champions reading audiobooks! In fact, he personally only reads audiobooks as an alternative to traditional print.

Listening to audiobooks is reading, says Kinney. This view refutes claims by some to the contrary. In the video clip that follows he talks more about that and offers other insights about the benefits for all of this book format.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables