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Motivation

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.

For a Boost of Optimism, Read (and Watch) This

"I don't think there's a child out there who doesn't want to learn and be the best they can be."

Those are the words of Barbara Preuss, a veteran educator with more than 30 years of experience.

That is to say, she is no bright-eyed novice about to be confronted by reality. She is confronted by plenty of reality, every day. And yet she retains her belief that even the kids who act out and misbehave still want to learn and still need to learn.

She retains this belief because she has seen it again and again, in all the schools where she has worked.

Surf's Up: New Picture Book to Read Aloud and Inspire Struggling or Reluctant Reader

WOWIE KAZOO! Surf's Up, a joyful picture book with two froggie friends at the beach debuted officially for all on February 1. The story unfolds on colorful pages with a unique literacy message that possibly could inspire readers who struggle.

Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction

Teacher question: I am a Reading Coach at a Title I middle school serving a student population of 95% African American. Less than 40% of our students read at/or above grade level. My goal is to increase the amount of individual time that our students spend reading novels. My suggestion has been to add more classroom novels that are about African Americans, and African American culture. I feel that if we adopt a culturally responsive approach to literature, then our students may become more motivated to read.

8 Reliable Sources Share Apps That Create Access to Curriculum Content Across Grade Levels

Access to instruction means everything if struggling readers are to keep pace with their grade-level peers. AIM-VA blog readers love our stories about chosen apps and websites that help to by-pass textbooks, trade books or other traditional learning materials in print when they prove to be barriers to learning.

Meet the new Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Gene Yang

Ambassador Gene Luen Yang

On January 7, the 5th Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was officially installed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Gene Yang's induction was attended by former ambassadors, Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka in a role also held by Walter Dean Myers and Katherine Paterson.

Read Together During School Breaks! This ALA/CBC Book List Includes Alternatives to Print

Reading for pleasure during school breaks can maintain a struggling student's academic progress and may stave off regressions.

10 Specialists Pick Apps, Websites to Help Special Needs, Struggling Readers Love to Learn

Apps and websites for special needs and other struggling learners are best when sources are trusted, juried, or chosen by people we respect. Here is a round up of chosen apps. Some are targeted to special needs learners, while others are intended to help all students love to learn whether or not they have identified disabilities. 

7 Ways To Make National Family Literacy Day, Reading More Accessible, More Inclusive

National Family Literacy Day® falls on Nov. 1 2015. This national observance often kicks off a month of family literacy activities in libraries, schools, and community settings. It is a time for educators, librarians and others to celebrate learning differences and many ways to read. Put a spotlight on accessible digital text and alternatives to print. Build a nation of readers. 

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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald