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Three ways to ruin a good book

Here are three ways to ruin a good book:

So long, Mr. Ambassador

This December marks the last month of Jon Scieszka's tenure as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. For two years, Mr. Scieszka (the author of several children's books and founder of Guys Read) has worked to promote a love of reading and books. He's been particularly focused on helping parents and teachers reach the reluctant reader, one he describes as "that's the kid who might be a reader, who could be one, but just isn't that interested in reading."

Accelerated Reader is not a reading program

My friend B called yesterday to talk about her second grader. A former teacher herself, B was worried because she hasn't seen any language-arts related papers come home. When she asks her daughter about reading groups at school, her daughter simply says, "We don't do reading groups. I take tests on a computer."

The U.S. mail and teacher–student relationships

Postcard

Oh, the wondrous things a postcard with a quick note from a teacher can do! Molly received this post card in the mail from her third-grade teacher. I wish Mrs. M could have seen Molly's face when she realized what the mailman had brought. She rushed in to show me, grinning from ear to ear. This small gesture from Molly's teacher did so much to further Molly's perception of herself in her new classroom.

Postcard from teacher

You can't let your failures define you

"You can't let your failures define you — you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time." What an important and powerful message for students from President Obama.

Summer Reading Bags: Wrap up

The Summer Reading Bag project wrapped up last week (read more about it here). I was amazed by the quality and quantity of donations we gathered! Thanks to the generosity of teachers and neighbors, the PTO tables were piled high with books, games, flash cards, mini chalkboards, and more.

summer reading bags

Series books

A colleague recently sent me a link to new and "hot" children's book releases. The majority of them were books that featured well known and proven characters like the eloquent Nancy of fancy language fame and a skeleton detective, Dirk Bones (both HarperCollins).

Summer reading bags: access for all

In last week's blog post, I wrote about the research on access to books for kids in poverty. In short: all kids, but especially kids from lower-income households, need access to books over the summer. If there are no books laying around to read, it's unlikely that a child will lay around to read.

Tests and more tests

The end of the school year usually means one thing for kids: TESTS! In Virginia, our 3rd and 5th graders are gearing up to take the Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Other grade levels are preparing for end of unit tests, spelling tests, math chapter tests, tests to inform placements for next year, and tests just because teachers like to grade (just kidding).

What do boys read?

I read a recent article in the New York Times that surprised me a bit. A team of researchers, anthropologists no less, went searching for what 6 to 14 year old boys might find most appealing to watch.

Interesting to note that boys and their interests are the focus of a study sponsored by Disney, a leader in the production of programs that spawned a princess frenzy that reaches girls of all ages — literally into adulthood.

Why now? Why boys? To tap another market? Or because a market is being lost? Or just too much pink?

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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