Picture books: poetry in motion

I’ve been thinking a lot about picture books and why some work and are memorable while others just land with a thud when read. I continue to ask myself what is it about those picture books that resonate with readers and particularly those that can be shared many times between adults and children, delighting both.

Six Engaging Poetry Alternatives When Print Alone Is a Challenge: Sources for Learning Differently


In April the nation focuses on artistic expression during National Poetry Month. Listening to poetry is a welcome change of pace when reading print presents barriers to learning. There are many sources of poems available in multiple formats to help educators differentiate poetry instruction. Six follow and previewing always is advised.

Let’s talk about poetry with Lee Bennett Hopkins

In honor of National Poetry Month I contacted one of the most prolific and versatile poets and anthologist whose books I’ve long used and admired.

6 Resources from The NCTE 2014 Exhibit Hall Mostly Hidden Among Zillions of Books in Print

Teachers were buzzing about and checking out many wonderful books in the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Exhibit Hall on Nov. 22. Having so many wonderful books in print to examine was like a picnic for some who browsed and chatted happily at this 2014 annual conference.

A crowd lined up way in advance (like shoppers at Best Buy before a big sale) for the freebie books in print that vendors give away at when the hall closes.

Distilled, powerful words

April is almost over and with it ends National Poetry Month. What continues, however, is what Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate, said of poetry. It is "… language at its most distilled and most powerful."

Children respond to poetry from early on — and why not? Its sounds, cadence and music are immediate and appealing. Think of Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes. They've been shared with young children for centuries.

Poetry: thinking outside of the genre!

I just LOVE teaching poetry! I try diligently to incorporate it throughout the year at various times for general exposure, and specifically to help my kiddos see that our reading strategies can be used across a wide variety of texts. The writers of the Common Core started including poetry in the majority of the reading standards, so students would have many opportunities to read, decipher and distinguish poetry that they enjoy … or don't! Poetry can be a very useful tool when helping students understand and compare text.

Goodbye poetry month

What fun we had with poetry month this year! At home we resurrected our copy of Joyful Noise and had fun sharing poems about insects. Anna loved the Grasshoppers one the best, mostly because we had a long talk about autumn-laid eggs and the interesting words and images within the poem, including grasshoppers 'vaulting from leaf to leaf and stem to stem' and being grass bounders and grass soarers. I doubt she'll ever look at a grasshopper the same way again!

Lovely words

I was reading a novel last night, a book called Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle (Holt). It's a tough subject even for the target reader (12 years and older) as the title suggests.

The color of summer

It's always good to rediscover something, especially if that something slows you down, makes you think, and creates vivid images.

What I've rediscovered is Mary O'Neill's collection of poems about colors, Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Doubleday). Though the book was originally published in 1961, it was newly illustrated in the late 1980s and recently reissued. Old is new all over again.

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." — Lemony Snicket